A district court heard yesterday that a Singaporean doctor admitted to a police officer last year that he had switched his blood sample with the one taken from his American boyfriend who is HIV-positive.
On the first day of Ler Teck Siang's trial, Deputy Superintendent of Police Alvin Phua testified that Ler, the doctor, had told him at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters during an interview on May 23 last year that he had substituted Mikhy Farrera-Brochez's blood sample with his own.
The American, who worked as a polytechnic lecturer in Singapore, had committed offences including cheating, lying to a public servant, possessing drugs and using forged educational certificates. He was jailed for 28 months on March 1.
Ler, 35, then wrote down his own statement for the police after the interview.
But yesterday, the accused told District Judge Luke Tan that he had given his written statement under duress.
DSP Phua, however, testified that he had made no threats, inducements or promises to Ler. He was one of the officers who went to Ler's flat at around 8am on May 23 last year before the doctor accompanied them back to the CID that day.
Ler is in court for allegedly helping Farrera-Brochez cheat the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) when the American submitted the doctor's blood sample for tests instead of his own in March 2008 to obtain an employment pass.
Ler is said to have committed a similar offence in November 2013 by helping the American one more time.
Farrera-Brochez, 32, submitted Ler's blood sample for another test, duping MOM into allowing him to retain his employment pass.
Besides these two charges of cheating MOM, Ler is also accused of two counts of giving false information to public servants.
On Dec 10, 2013, Ler allegedly lied to an investigation manager from the Ministry of Health's Surveillance and Enforcement Branch by claiming that a person whom Ler knew as Dr Mikhy Malatesta Brochez was not at Twin City Medical Centre in November that year.
Court papers did not state if Dr Malatesta Brochez is the same person as Farrera-Brochez.
In addition, Ler is believed to have lied to a police investigation officer on Jan 23, 2014, by stating that Farrera-Brochez's blood sample was the one which had been used for an HIV test in November 2013.
Ler and the American had met online. In 2008, Farrera-Brochez moved to Singapore, a year after he got into a relationship with the then general practitioner.
According to an earlier news report, Ler, an infectious diseases specialist, worked as a medical officer at the Communicable Diseases Division of the Health Ministry from February 2012 to January 2014.
The trial resumes today.
If convicted of cheating, Ler can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.
And if convicted of lying to a public servant, he can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000 on each charge.