TraceTogether data was accessed in May 2020 for Punggol Fields murder investigation

Mr Tay Rui Hao had been jogging when he was stabbed near a bus stop in Punggol Field on May 10, 2020.
Mr Tay Rui Hao had been jogging when he was stabbed near a bus stop in Punggol Field on May 10, 2020.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Police had sought - and got - access to TraceTogether data in their investigation into a murder last May, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan said.

The Straits Times understands that this was the Punggol Fields murder.

However, investigators were not able to obtain any useful data as the app was not installed on the suspect's phone, Mr Tan told Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 2).

He was responding to questions from Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh and Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai on police's use of TraceTogether data, and when it was first accessed.

They were speaking during the debate on amendments to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures)(Amendment) Bill to restrict police's use of TraceTogether data to seven categories of serious crimes, including murder and terrorism offences.

The change to the law, which was approved by Parliament on Tuesday, was introduced on a certificate of urgency following a public outcry over Mr Tan's disclosure in the House last month that police could obtain such data for criminal investigations.

On Tuesday, Mr Tan revealed in Parliament that the police had asked for TraceTogether data last May in line with their powers under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

He added that this was the only time so far that the police have requested for the data.

It was reported last year that Mr Tay Rui Hao, 38, was stabbed near a bus stop in Punggol Field Road on May 10 last year at about 11.10pm while out on a jog.

Surajsrikan Diwakar Mani Tripathi, 20, was charged on May 17 last year with Mr Tay's murder. The case is currently before the courts.

The data is believed to have been taken from the victim's phone as this was prior to the roll-out of the TraceTogether tokens.