Five servicemen charged over leaked photos of incident

Muhammad Arif Azman (top, left) and Mohamad Haikal Mohammad Zainal Abiddin (top, right) allegedly took photos and shared them, while Brandon Tan Jien Jet (bottom, left), Thng Yu Xuan (bottom, right) and Muhammad Zaki Haji Mokhtar (not pictured) are a
Muhammad Arif Azman (top, left) and Mohamad Haikal Mohammad Zainal Abiddin (top, right) allegedly took photos and shared them, while Brandon Tan Jien Jet (bottom, left), Thng Yu Xuan (bottom, right) and Muhammad Zaki Haji Mokhtar (not pictured) are accused of having shared them further.ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

Five servicemen were charged over the wrongful communication of official information under the Official Secrets Act yesterday in relation to the death of Corporal First Class Liu Kai in November last year.

Two of them, Muhammad Arif Azman, 22, and Mohamad Haikal Mohammad Zainal Abiddin, 20 - who were doing their national service with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and were at the scene - allegedly took photos of the incident and disseminated them via WhatsApp.

Three others received the photos and, despite knowing that the photos were sensitive official information, are accused of having shared them further without authorisation.

They are Brandon Tan Jien Jet, 21, Thng Yu Xuan, 21, and Muhammad Zaki Haji Mokhtar, 23. They were also SCDF full-time national servicemen (NSFs).

SCDF said in a statement yesterday that internal investigations were conducted to identify those responsible for leaking photos of the accident.

"We filed a police report on Nov 4, 2018, against five full-time national servicemen who were involved. The NSFs were immediately redeployed to non-frontline duties while police investigations were ongoing. All five NSFs have since completed their full-time national service."

SCDF said it expects its officers to uphold exemplary standards of conduct, integrity and discipline at all times. "We have strict rules to safeguard official information, and view any breach seriously. Any officer who commits offences will be dealt with in accordance with the law."

Anyone convicted of an offence of wrongful communication of official information is liable to a fine of up to $2,000 and two years in jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2019, with the headline 'Five servicemen charged over leaked photos of incident'. Print Edition | Subscribe