Police sergeant charged with corruptly soliciting relationship with woman

SINGAPORE - A police sergeant was on Thursday (Sept 2) charged with corruptly soliciting a romantic relationship from a woman in exchange for helping her when she got into trouble with the authorities.

Sean Teo, a 25-year-old Singaporean, faces one count of corruption, one under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and another under the Computer Misuse Act.

On Nov 2, 2019, Teo had allegedly misused a computer belonging to the Singapore Police Force to obtain information about people who had been arrested in an operation that day.

He was not authorised to retrieve that data.

A month later, he is said to have sent a photograph relating to the same operation to a woman he was interested in. It is not clear if the woman was one of those arrested in the operation.

He then allegedly tried to persuade her to be in a relationship with him on the premise of helping her in her case with the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).

The woman rejected his request.

Court documents did not state what the woman's case was with the CNB and how Teo was planning to help her. It is also unclear how they got to know each other.

In response to queries, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said Teo has been suspended from service since Jan 3 last year.

“Officers of SPF are expected to uphold the law and maintain the highest standards of conduct and integrity,” the police said.

“Upon disclosure of the offence by Sergeant Sean Teo, SPF rendered full assistance to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in their investigations.”

His case will be heard again on Sept 30.

In a statement on Thursday, the CPIB said it adopts a "strict zero-tolerance approach" towards corruption.

"CPIB will not hesitate to take firm action against offenders, including public officers who abuse their position of authority and tarnish the image of the public service," the bureau said.

If convicted of corruption, Teo can be fined up to $100,000, jailed for up to five years, or both.

Under the Computer Misuse Act, he can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000 on each charge.

An offence under the OSA carries a maximum sentence of $2,000 fine and two years' jail.