Firm's boss sabotaged police security cameras

Tan was given eight months' jail. The judge took into account his earlier contributions while in the armed forces.
Tan was given eight months' jail. The judge took into account his earlier contributions while in the armed forces.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Engineer jailed for disabling CCTV cameras at SEA Games over alleged payment dispute

An engineer hacked into the police's CCTV system for the SEA Games last year and sabotaged nearly 30 security cameras, a district court heard yesterday.

Daniel Tan Khoon Guan, 59, was angry over alleged non-payments by his former business partner, ST Electronics (Info-Comm Systems), which had been tasked to set up the closed-circuit television (CCTV) security system for the event.

The hacking took place some 16 hours before the closing ceremony for the biennial South-east Asian sports events was set to begin.

The camera feeds were disrupted and technicians worked urgently into the early hours of June 16 to regain control.

Yesterday, Tan was given eight months' jail after he pleaded guilty to 10 out of 53 charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act. The remaining counts were taken into account in sentencing.

Tan is the owner and engineering director of Serron Technology, which specialises in CCTV technology. Serron and ST Electronics (Info-Comm Systems) - an ST Electronics subsidiary - had initially collaborated on the CCTV project.

The court heard that Serron was supposed to provide technical support to ST Electronics for the SEA Games, held from June 5 to 16, but later withdrew its support due to business disagreements.

Tan was also angry with ST Electronics over alleged non-payments for previous projects the two firms had collaborated on.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sheryl Janet George told the court that Tan also planned for the crimes to occur shortly before the SEA Games' closing ceremony so that ST would have an emergency situation to deal with.

Tan drove to the Singapore Indoor Stadium at about 10.15pm on June 15 last year and parked his car just outside the stadium's carpark.

He then used a software tool on his laptop to scan the event's CCTV system, before gaining full access to all the police CCTV cameras in the Singapore Sports Hub area.

Because he had worked on the project earlier, he knew the IP addresses, usernames and passwords used for the CCTV system.

Said DPP George: "(Tan) deliberately chose a high-profile international event at which to perpetrate his offences in a bid to get attention and make a point to a business rival..."

The DPP asked that he be jailed between eight months and a year.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Ignatius Joseph pointed to Tan's record of public service and asked for a short jail term.

District Judge Low Wee Ping took into account Tan's contributions to society in sentencing.

Tan, a former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) major, was a principal engineering officer with the RSAF's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Command. He took part in a successful hostage rescue mission in Timor Leste in the early 1990s.

He is out on $10,000 bail. He will start serving his sentence on Sept 13.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Firm's boss sabotaged police security cameras'. Print Edition | Subscribe