Ang Poh Lay (left) and David Chin Sing Chuin (right) before the state courts on September 27th, 2021. (Photos: TODAY / Nuria Ling)

SINGAPORE: A clinic assistant and real estate agent were sentenced to prison on Monday (Sept. 27) for using patients and customers’ NRIC numbers to redeem free face masks, such a report from TODAY.

The individual cases took place during the Temasek Foundation’s nationwide mask distribution exercise earlier this year, when every resident of Singapore was entitled to pick up a marine blue mask from Livinguard.

Clinical assistant Ang Poh Lay, 47, was sentenced to nine weeks in prison. An employee at Tan & Yik Clinic & Surgery in Bishan admitted to having redeemed 26 masks according to TODAY.

She pleaded guilty to eight masks fraud and another charge of using the personal information of others without their consent Having committed a criminal offense. She is the first person charged with the latter offense, TODAY reported.

Ang accessed the clinic’s records between March 1 and March 7, and identified patients she believed were older and deceased, or maids who left Singapore. She targeted them knowing they would be less likely to redeem their mask packages, the court heard.

She copied eight patients ‘personal information and also admitted having saved 18 other patients’ information.

Ang’s crimes were exposed when a victim filed a police report on March 13 stating that she could not redeem her mask and was told that someone had picked her up a few days earlier.

The victim confirmed that she had received a screenshot of the person who redeemed it from an employee of the Temasek Foundation and she did not recognize that person. Authorities ransacked Ang’s house and confiscated 20 Livinguard face masks, TODAY reported.

Assistant prosecutor Daphne Chee, who requested the sentence, said Ang’s crimes were not one-off and that she had abused her position as a clinic assistant.

In the second case, David Chin Sing Chuin was jailed for a week for using the data of eleven customers to redeem eleven masks. The man pleaded guilty to two types of fraud, reported TODAY.

Chin was working for PropNex at the time of his crime. He obtained the customers’ NRIC numbers in order to prepare documents for the sale of their properties.

Between March 1 and 14, he went to vending machines at various locations to redeem the masks with the data of ten customers, reported TODAY.

A victim complained to PropNex who confronted Chin, stating that he had only used his customers’ data once to redeem masks.

A 76-year-old office cleaner who called Chin hired his real estate agent, filed a complaint with the police on March 6th after discovering someone had used their NRIC number to redeem a mask contacted me and offered to return the masks to them.

He added, “I have been law-abiding for 59 years … It was very traumatizing and will forever become my biggest life flaw.”

District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed the state advocacy that a strong chilling message should be sent that the courts will not condone such acts, TODAY reported.

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