Former NSman fined over illegal access of police computer system

Royce Phua Tai Da duped his junior into using a police computer system to perform an unauthorised screening on a man as a favour for a friend.
Royce Phua Tai Da duped his junior into using a police computer system to perform an unauthorised screening on a man as a favour for a friend.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A full-time national serviceman (NSF) working for the Traffic Police duped his junior into using a police computer system to perform an unauthorised screening on a man as a favour for a friend.

Royce Phua Tai Da told Mr Joseph Yeo Peng Siong to use a system known as “Crimes-2” to find information on Mr Desmond Chu Guan Quan. 

Phua lied to Mr Yeo, 22, and gave him Mr Chu’s NRIC number, claiming that it was for work-related purposes.  Mr Yeo did as he was told. 

He then snapped a picture of the result before forwarding it to his friend and former Traffic Police NSman Ivan Sim Jun Jie, 23.

Phua, 24, was fined $3,000 on Wednesday (Dec 19) after pleading guilty to an offence under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act. 

The court heard that Phua and Mr Yeo have since completed their NS. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jingxi said  the main function of Crimes-2 is to aid police criminal investigations. It contains statements, investigation papers and offenders’ criminal histories.

All NSFs posted to the Traffic Police are told that they should not use any Singapore Police Force (SPF) computer systems to perform screenings for non-work-related purposes, the court was told.

In mid-2016, Mr Chu contacted Sim’s friend Joshua Woon Wei Ke, 23, and told him that he had some problems with a business partner.

DPP Tay said: “Desmond claimed that he was worried that this business partner would implicate him in some criminal wrongdoings.

“On his own accord, Woon decided to check Desmond’s criminal history to find out if Desmond had indeed been implicated by his business partner in such a manner.”

After this, Woon approached Sim who then contacted Phua. 

Phua, in turn, approached Mr Yeo who screened Mr Chu’s NRIC number at around 3pm on July 14, 2016. 

The offence came to light about two months later when police officers from the Specialised Crimes Branch arrested Woon over his alleged involvement in illegal gambling activities.

They searched his mobile phone and found the picture of the screening result which Phua had taken. 

The cases involving Sim and Woon are still pending.

Replying to an ST query, the SPF said  full-time police national servicemen  may be given controlled access to screening systems, to enable them to perform their duties. 
“Checks are carried out periodically to ensure that officers do not perform unauthorised screenings. The police will not hesitate to take action against any officer found doing so,” it added. 

Officers of the SPF, including national service officers, are expected to uphold the law and maintain high standards of discipline and integrity, it said. Those who commit criminal offences will be charged in court and dealt with in accordance with the law, it added.

The SPF said that following Phua’s  conviction, it will be commencing disciplinary proceedings against him.