Private investigator fined for illegal access

He is fined $4,500 for using a data recovery software to access plastic surgeon's laptop

Wendell Dennis Lee Sing Ling, 46, used his computer to unlawfully get data from Dr Leo Kah Woon's laptop in 2012.
Wendell Dennis Lee Sing Ling, 46, used his computer to unlawfully get data from Dr Leo Kah Woon's laptop in 2012.

He misused technology and used a data recovery software to illegally access a laptop belonging to a plastic surgeon, whom his client was divorcing.

Yesterday, private investigator Wendell Dennis Lee Sing Ling, now 46, was fined $4,500 for committing the offence in December 2012, when Ms Nellie Tan Li Koon, 39, was in divorce proceedings with her then husband, Dr Leo Kah Woon, 42.

They married in 2005, but Dr Leo evicted Ms Tan from their matrimonial home in Margoliouth Road on Sept 26, 2012 as he suspected her of having an affair with a Mr Ang Choo Pin, 38.

Ms Tan started divorce proceedings against Dr Leo on Oct 10 that year. While Dr Leo was away on holiday in Hong Kong with their two daughters between Dec 16 and 20, Ms Tan returned to retrieve some of her belongings. She then spotted Dr Leo's laptop on the dining table and switched it on.

She decided to take it with her when she saw documents on the desktop relating to the divorce.

Ms Tan gave it to Lee at around 4pm on Dec 18 that year and asked him to make a copy of files and documents relevant to them.

Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang said Lee used his computer to get the data and passed it to her. Ms Tan then returned the laptop to her former home.

Ms Tan used the information in her affidavit dated March 27, 2013 in the Family Court in response to Dr Leo's application for care and control of their daughters.

DPP Phang said the divorce was finalised on May 4, 2015.

On Feb 3 this year, Ms Tan was fined $3,500 for abetting Lee in unlawfully accessing Dr Leo's laptop.

Separately, 10 days later, Dr Leo was fined $13,000 for installing spyware to intercept data belonging to Ms Tan and unlawfully accessing data in the Singapore General Hospital's computer system. He was working with SGH when he committed three offences, including using the hospital's computer system to search for information on Mr Ang.

Mr Ang later lodged complaints with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) and the police that Dr Leo had abused the SGH system to obtain personal information and make baseless allegations of adultery against him. The SMC complaints committee concluded that no formal inquiry was necessary and issued a letter of advice to Dr Leo.

For computer misuse, Lee could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2017, with the headline 'Private investigator fined for illegal access'. Subscribe