Former paramedic fined for unlawfully sending photo of dead maid to boyfriend

SINGAPORE - A woman who was working as a paramedic for a private ambulance operator unlawfully forwarded to her boyfriend a photograph of a maid who had hanged herself.

The court heard that Nurizzah Afiqah Hussain, 27, committed the offence as she wanted to "share her experience" with him.

However, after Fazli Hisham Mohd Fairuz Shah, 28, shared the photo taken by Nurizzah's colleague with a WhatsApp chat group he was in, the photo started circulating on social media.

On Tuesday (Aug 7), Nurizzah was fined a total of $3,000 after pleading guilty to two offences under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Nurizzah, who is now a student, admitted that she had unlawfully sent two photos to Fazli - one of the dead maid and another of a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) call sheet.

The court heard that Nurizzah started work as a paramedic for Unistrong Technology in 2014. Her employment contract stated that any information obtained during the course of her work should be kept strictly confidential.

She was at the Marine Parade Fire Post in Marine Terrace on Feb 1 last year when she received information about the maid, which had been printed on an SCDF call sheet.

The document contained a message from the maid's employer that she had hanged herself while the family was overseas for five days.

Nurizzah snapped a picture of the call sheet and sent it via WhatsApp to her boyfriend, even though she was not authorised to do so.

She and her colleagues, including emergency ambulance vehicle driver Shaik Haziq Fahmi Shaik Nasair Johar, 29, went to the apartment where the dead woman was found.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Lu Jia told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan: "Before they left the room, Shaik Haziq used his mobile phone to take a photo of the deceased's body that was still hanging, while the accused shone a torchlight on the deceased's body to enable Haziq to take the photo."

DPP Teo said that Haziq shared the photo with a WhatsApp group, which included Nurizzah. She sent the photo to Fazli, who in turn shared it and the photo of the SCDF call sheet with another chat group. The two photos ended up circulating on social media.

The maid's agent subsequently found out about the pictures and informed her employer. The police were alerted on Feb 3 last year. Nurizzah was arrested early this year.

In mitigation, her lawyer Xavier Lim pleaded for the minimum fine.

"Feeling extremely distressed over the image of a corpse hanging from the ceiling fan, she forwarded the photograph... to her boyfriend to seek emotional comfort without thinking of the consequences of her actions," said Mr Lim.

For each offence under the OSA, Nurizzah could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $2,000.

The cases against Fazli and Haziq are pending.

The SCDF said yesterday it takes a serious view of any misconduct or wrongdoing by any personnel contracted to provide emergency ambulance services under the Private Ambulance Operator (PAO) arrangement. 

It will refer such matters for investigation, and violators will face the full extent of the law, it said, adding that the PAO has terminated the contracts of the persons involved.