Police NSF leaked picture of dead SMRT worker

SCDF personnel at the scene of the accident on March 22.
SCDF personnel at the scene of the accident on March 22.PHOTO: ST FILE

Officer is being investigated under the Official Secrets Act

(THE NEW PAPER) - A photograph of the body of one of the two workers killed in the SMRT accident that made its rounds online was a screenshot of a police computer terminal.

It was allegedly leaked by a full-time police national serviceman, the police said yesterday.

The picture, which showed a close-up of Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari's body lying on the MRT track, was circulated on social media websites, forums and messaging app WhatsApp earlier this week.

It was even seen by some of Mr Asyraf's family members before they received news that he had died, The New Paper reported on Thursday.

The picture, which also revealed the 24-year-old's full name and IC number, appeared to have been taken off a screen.

 
 

Yesterday, in response to media queries, a police spokesman told TNP that investigations revealed that the picture was a screenshot of a police computer terminal.

A police NSF is believed to have shared the photograph with his family and friends.

The officer is being investigated for an offence under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the spokesman said.

The police are also investigating how the photograph was uploaded online.

"The police deeply regret the insensitive and illegal action of the officer and met with the family today to explain the circumstances surrounding the leakage," the spokesman said.

"The police have strict rules on the management of official information and take a very serious view of any breach. Officers who commit any wrongdoing will be dealt with in accordance with the law."

SERIOUS OFFENCE

Criminal lawyer Rajan Supramaniam from Hilborne Law said an offence under the OSA is a serious one, particularly so in this case when the sensitive photograph was allegedly leaked while Mr Asyraf's family was still grieving.

He said that such photographs are taken and strictly used for investigation purposes, and are not meant for public viewing.

"If leaked, they could cause a public outcry, distort the impact of the case and affect the post-mortem findings by authorities," he said.

Mr Asyraf's cousin, Mr Muhd Kamal, 24, an undergraduate, told TNP last night upon hearing the news: "It was a very sensitive picture and we wanted to find out who did it. And now we know.

"But we would now leave it to the police to best handle it."

He had earlier urged people not to circulate the picture, saying it was disrespectful to the deceased.

Mr Asyraf's father, Mr Ahmad Buhari, 61, had told TNP that he saw the photograph when he was in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. "I was very sad when I saw the picture," he had said.

The maximum punishment for wrongful communication of information under the OSA is a two-year jail term and a $2,000 fine.