Student below 16 identified as suspect behind fake PMO announcement on Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE - The person who is suspected of having posted a fake announcement on the supposed death of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on Wednesday is a male Singaporean student, below 16 years of age.

He is now assisting the police with investigations, said a statement from the Singapore Police Force on Friday.

On March 18 at about 10.10pm, the police were alerted to multiple messages that were being circulated regarding a screenshot photograph of a statement purportedly from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) website, said the statement.

"The police established the identity of the suspect within 24 hours. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect was believed to have modified an earlier 2010 PMO media statement hosted on the PMO website and subsequently sent out a photo of the modified content," it added.

The suspect is believed to have operated alone.

He is assisting the police with investigations for the offence of Access with Intent to Commit or Facilitate Commission of Offence under Section 4(1) of the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, Chapter 50A, which carries a punishment of a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both. 

Acting Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sekher Warrier, advised members of public not to spread falsehoods.

"The police take a very stern view against anyone who doctors a government website to spread false information to deceive the public.  Individuals who do so must be prepared to face the consequences under the law," he said.