Policeman paid $1,000 for access to confidential photos jailed for violating Official Secrets Act

Terrence Lam was sentenced to a jail term of seven months and six weeks, and ordered to pay a $1,000 penalty.
Terrence Lam was sentenced to a jail term of seven months and six weeks, and ordered to pay a $1,000 penalty. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A former policeman who received payment for showing a member of the public confidential police photographs was on Wednesday (Aug 30) sentenced to a jail term of seven months and six weeks, and ordered to pay a $1,000 penalty.

Terence Lam Guo Long, a former station inspector, had shown and sent photos taken during an investigation to dispatch driver Lim Sua Huat, 61, who told the policeman a gang leader wanted to know which members were involved.

Lam received two payments of $500 in return.

The former policeman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and one count of corruption.

A second corruption charge and one count of failing to arrest Lim for giving the bribe were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Lam, now 38, committed these offences between October 2015 and January last year.

He joined the Singapore Police Force in 2001 and had been deployed to Rochor Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) as a Deputy Team Leader before he resigned in February last year.

He first got to know Lim about eight years ago while investigating a man known as Ang Cheng Kiat. Lim, who claimed to be Ang's friend, had contacted Lam, asking him to promptly wrap up the case.

The court heard Ang was eventually charged and convicted in court. Despite this, Lim continued to stay in contact with Lam. Court papers did not reveal details about Ang's offences.

On Oct 4, 2015, Lam and his teammates from Rochor NPC arrested 13 people for rioting in Clive Street in Little India.

The police officers then used their mobile phones to snap the rioters' photographs for work purposes. Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Sng said Lim later contacted Lam to ask for the pictures.

He added: "Lim said that the headman of one of the gangs involved in the fight wanted to see the photos of the arrested individuals so that he could kick the troublemakers out of his gang.

"The accused told Lim that he would not send the photographs to him but would instead show them to him on his mobile phone."

The two men met at a coffee shop along Veerasamy Road, also in Little India, later that month and Lam showed the photos to Lim .

DPP Sng said: "The photographs were confidential and not meant to be shown to members of the public or police officers who were not concerned in the said investigation."

They met again about two months later and Lim gave the policeman $500 as a reward.

On Jan 19, last year, he called Lam again, asking him to send over the photographs of some individuals involved in the rioting case. Lam agreed and sent five pictures to him via WhatsApp. He later received another $500 from Lim as a reward.

DPP Sng urged District Judge Luke Tan to jail the former policeman for at least 10 months, stressing that he had abused his position of trust and authority.

Lim's case is still pending.

For offences under OSA, Lam could have been jailed up to six months and fined up to $1,000 for each charge.

For accepting the bribe, he could have been jailed up to five years and fined up to $100,000.