Ler Teck Siang trial: Doc claimed syringe in his bag was to 'inject insulin'

Ler Teck Siang, the doctor at the heart of an HIV data leak, is said to have provided "slamming services" to drug abusers.
Ler Teck Siang, the doctor at the heart of an HIV data leak, is said to have provided "slamming services" to drug abusers.

He told CNB it was used on patients, and also to clean his teeth by flushing out food particles

When drug-related paraphernalia was found on him, the Singaporean doctor at the heart of the HIV Registry data leak told Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers the syringe in his bag was for injecting insulin into his patients, the court heard yesterday.

Ler Teck Siang, who turns 38 this year, also told an officer that the same syringe was used to "flush" out food particles from between his teeth.

He is alleged to have used his medical skills to provide "slamming services" to drug abusers to supplement his income last year.

The term refers to the administering of illegal drugs via injection, and Ler is alleged to have done so for Sim Eng Chee at a room in the Swissotel The Stamford hotel.

Ler is on trial for two drug-related charges - for administering methamphetamine to Sim at Swissotel The Stamford on Feb 26 last year and for possessing utensils intended for drug use a few days later.

On March 2 last year, Ler and Sim were arrested by the authorities at the Conrad Centennial Singapore hotel after hotel staff there found drugs and drug-related items in Sim's room, said prosecutors.

 
 
 
 

CNB officers at the scene found a syringe, two straws and an empty bottle on Ler, who prosecutors said was with Sim. Officers testified yesterday that Ler told them he used the syringe to "inject insulin" into his patients.

The officers found Ler to be "uncooperative", as he not only doubted whether they had the right to search but also tried to prevent them from doing so, citing his "civil rights" initially, the court heard.

It was only after officers found drugs on Sim that they arrested Ler and proceeded to search his bag, said the officers.

But Ler was "evasive" on the use of the items found in the bag, and he said the straws were for "no particular use" and the bottle was "for nothing", an officer told the court.

Prosecutors said all four items were later found to have traces of methamphetamine.

Ler, who is representing himself, told the court that he "was not entirely forthcoming with his answers" because he knew there was to be another round of official statement-taking.

But the officers testified that Ler refused to give a sample of his urine when he was brought to the CNB office despite being warned that he could be charged for his refusal.

Ler's statement was taken by CNB officer Gan Cher Kiat, who told the court that the accused claimed to have used the syringe found on him to flush out food particles from between his teeth.

Ler is currently serving a two-year sentence for helping his HIV-positive American partner, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, deceive the authorities into issuing a pass for him to work here.

He was charged over these offences in June 2016 and was convicted in September last year. He is also facing a separate charge under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for failing to take reasonable care to retain possession of the information relating to the HIV Registry.

Farrera-Brochez leaked the names, addresses, contact details and medical information of 14,200 HIV-positive people here online, and he is said to have gained access to this information through Ler, who was head of the National Public Health Unit between March 2012 and May 2013.

The charge under the OSA and the charge for refusing to provide a urine specimen have been stood down for now.

The trial for Ler's two drug-related charges will resume in July.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2019, with the headline 'Doc claimed syringe in his bag was to 'inject insulin''. Print Edition | Subscribe