8 weeks' jail for man who used NRIC details he mistakenly received to redeem face masks

Ng Wee Siang redeemed the face masks on 14 occasions last year. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A 35-year-old man who had mistakenly received NRIC details of several people exploited the opportunity to redeem their face masks for his personal gain.

Ng Wee Siang did this on 14 occasions during Temasek Foundation's nationwide distribution initiative of face masks early last year.

He was sentenced to eight weeks' jail on Tuesday (Feb 22) after pleading guilty to one count of dishonestly inducing Temasek Foundation to deliver face masks worth $140.

Under Temasek Foundation's mask distribution initiative, which started in February last year, each resident in Singapore was entitled to one navy blue MaskPlus Livinguard reusable face mask worth $10.

The masks were dispensed by keying in one's NRIC or Foreign Identification Number at vending machines across the island.

The court heard that Ng, a waiter at a cafe, had received the NRIC numbers of several people from his workplace and by accident.

In December 2019, he obtained a photo of his manager's identity card and kept it in his phone.

Some time before March last year, he received a photo of an employee name list that was mistakenly sent to him via messaging platform WhatsApp. The list contained the names and NRIC numbers of 17 Singapore citizens.

Despite having no connection to these people, Ng took a screenshot of the list.

He also kept a Central Provident Fund printout from his previous employer, which contained the personal details of six Singaporeans.

Between March 2 and March 4 last year, Ng used the NRIC numbers to redeem 14 Temasek Foundation face masks at various locations in Singapore.

His offences came to light when his manager made a complaint to the police after he was unable to redeem his mask.

Seeking at least 10 weeks' jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Louis Ngia said Ng had capitalised on his wrongful retention of NRIC details and significantly intruded on the privacy of others.

Ng's lawyer Tan Jin Song, from Havelock Law, said his client's crime was not sophisticated: "With respect to him, it was quite a dumb plan."

Ng could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for his offences.

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