Ex-ambulance driver fined $1,500 for breaching Official Secrets Act by taking photo of dead body while on duty

SINGAPORE - An ambulance driver took a picture of a dead body while attending to a case of a maid who hanged herself in February 2017.

He then sent the photo on his mobile phone to his colleagues, and the picture soon found its way to social media.

Shaik Haziq Fahmi Shaik Nasair Johar, 29, was working for private ambulance operator Unistrong Technology, which has a contract with the Government for its services.

Now dismissed from the company, Haziq was fined $1,500 on Monday (Sept 10) under the Official Secrets Act.

His former colleague, paramedic Nurizzah Afiqah Hussain, 27, was fined $3,000 last month for her role in disseminating the photo by sending it to her then boyfriend.

She was also dismissed from Unistrong.

The incident came to light after the maid's employer became aware of the photograph's existence, and informed the investigating officer for the case.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Serene Yap told the court that Haziq was on duty on Feb 1 last year at Marine Parade Fire Post when a message came in from the control room.

The maid's employer had called the police to inform them that she had hanged herself while the family was overseas for five days.

Haziq and his team, including paramedic Nurizzah, then went to the apartment of the dead woman's employer.

While there, he used his mobile phone to take a photo of the body, as Nurizzah shone a torchlight on it.

It was his first time attending to a case of hanging and he wanted to share the picture in a chat group with his colleagues, although he was not authorised to do so, according to DPP Yap.

 

Nurrizah, who was in that chat group, later sent the photo to her then boyfriend, who forwarded it to another chat group.

Soon, the picture was circulating on social media.

The dead maid's agent found out about the photograph, and told the employer.

Shocked, the employer informed the investigating officer, who subsequently lodged a report.

Police began investigating and on Feb 4 last year, Haziq was arrested at his home in Chai Chee Road.

His mobile phone was also seized for investigations.

Defence lawyer Amarick Gill said in mitigation that Haziq already had his contract with Unistrong terminated and was remorseful of his actions.

He added that when Haziq took the photo, he had intended to send it only to his teammates, and did not personally disseminate it publicly.

In sentencing, District Judge Marvin Bay called Haziq's actions "deeply disturbing".

"Your act can cause intense anguish to the family of the deceased, who would be expected to be in a state of grief and shock, in the light of her sudden and unnatural demise," he said.

He added that Haziq's actions intruded upon the privacy of the family of the dead maid's employer too.

For the offence under the Official Secrets Act, Haziq could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $2,000.