Straws found meant for arts and crafts, says doc in drug case

Ler Teck Siang claims the straws and syringe were taken from the study of his former partner, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez. Ler is in jail for duping the authorities into allowing the American to work here.
Ler Teck Siang claims the straws and syringe were taken from the study of his former partner, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez. Ler is in jail for duping the authorities into allowing the American to work here.ST FILE PHOTO

CNB officers found them with meth-stained syringe in his bag; he says they were to be folded into origami stars

Straws and a meth-stained syringe discovered on Singaporean doctor Ler Teck Siang by narcotics officers had been meant for "arts and crafts" projects such as folding an origami star, Ler told a court yesterday.

The items were found in Ler's bag when he and tutor Sim Eng Chee were arrested on March 2 last year, after drugs and drug-related items were found in Sim's hotel room.

Ler, 38, is accused of injecting illegal drugs into Sim - a service known as "slamming" - and faces another charge of possessing drug utensils.

Taking the witness stand on the fifth day of his trial, Ler told the court that the straws were to be folded into origami stars and dog figurines, and that he had intended to dispose of the syringe but had forgotten about it for six months.

He claimed that the straws and syringe were taken from the study room of his former partner, American Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, 34.

Ler is serving a two-year jail sentence for helping the HIV-positive Farrera-Brochez dupe the authorities into allowing the American to work here.

Both men are also at the centre of the HIV Registry data leak scandal.

Sim earlier testified to frequently hiring Ler for his "slamming" services, typically doing so ahead of having sex with other men.

 
 
 
 

But Ler denied this yesterday, and said that he provided "health advisory services" to Sim, including sports massages and prostate massages.

They had met in August 2017, when Sim contacted him via gay dating app Grindr.

"He told me he was going to meet a sex buddy after I'm done... So I told him I had some experience doing prostate massage," said Ler.

The massage services and arts and crafts projects were his two methods of supplementing his income, said Ler, as he was not sure if he could renew his doctor's practising certificate in the light of the court proceedings against him for cheating-related offences.

When narcotics officers asked Ler about the syringe in his bag on March 2, he told them that it was an insulin syringe.

He later told them that he used it to dislodge food particles in his teeth, a practice that he learnt from Farrera-Brochez.

"Subsequently, when results (from the Health Sciences Authority) came back... I remembered that I recovered this syringe from the study room of my ex-partner," said Ler.

The straws were also obtained from Farrera-Brochez's study, he added.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nicholas Wuan asked Ler whether he agreed with the proposition that Farrera-Brochez would not have left the syringes lying around if the American man had HIV.

Ler replied: "I have no information to answer that."

DPP Wuan further added that Ler had not made a single mention of the alleged massage services in his statements to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers .

"I put it to you that the defences you have raised in your statements to the CNB are afterthoughts," said DPP Wuan.

Ler's trial will continue later this month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2019, with the headline 'Straws found meant for arts and crafts, says doc in drug case'. Print Edition | Subscribe