Jail for ICA man for falsely stating ex-supervisor took photos of man in toilet

Thomas Foo Jian Yao decided to send a false complaint. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 30-year-old man was jailed for 10 weeks on Monday (June 8) for sending an e-mail falsely stating that his former supervisor at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) could have taken photos of another man in a public toilet.

Thomas Foo Jian Yao, who was an ICA assistant superintendent when he committed the offence last year, had pleaded guilty in March this year to one count of giving false information to a public servant.

He was suspended by ICA last December and resigned in February this year.

The court heard earlier that Foo was upset with Superintendent Lee Teck Seng, who was his supervisor from October 2016 to October 2018.

He felt that Supt Lee had discredited him in front of his new supervisor and a superior officer, and should have raised the matters, which were not disclosed in the court documents, with him directly instead.

Foo then decided to send a false complaint about Supt Lee to the senior management of the ICA and cause investigations to be conducted on the officer.

While on holiday in Phuket, Thailand, on Aug 8 last year, Foo bought a mobile phone and a SIM card.

He created an e-mail account which he used to send the message containing the false accusation to nine members of ICA's senior management.

In the message, Foo claimed that Supt Lee could have used a mobile phone to take pictures of a man in a public toilet at Seah Im Food Centre near Telok Blangah Road.

A police report was lodged by another ICA officer. Supt Lee was subsequently subjected to an investigation, during which his office and home were raided, among other things.

The police later sent a message to the e-mail address Foo had created in Thailand, asking for his assistance in investigations.

He replied in an e-mail that he did not have time for an interview with the police.

He was subsequently identified by the police and admitted on Sept 3 last year that he had made the false accusation against Supt Lee.

In sentencing Foo to 10 weeks' jail on Monday, District Judge Ong Chin Rhu noted that Supt Lee had to "endure weeks of stress and uncertainty, wondering what went wrong" due to Foo's actions.

She also disagreed with Foo's lawyer, Mr Raphael Louis, that his client's offence was committed "in the heat of the moment".

For giving false information to a public servant, Foo could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.

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