Straits Times: Policeman jailed for using official portal to conduct illegal search on girlfriend

Written by admin | July 19, 2017

JUL 19, 2017, 2:08 PM SGT

Elena Chong
Court Correspondent

SINGAPORE – A police officer used his own account or a colleague’s account to conduct multiple illegal searches on his girlfriend on the police computer system.

Hafidz Hamzah, who has been suspended from duty since December last year, was a sergeant at the Central Police Division. He was trying to find out if his girlfriend had a criminal record or was involved in criminal activities.

On Wednesday (July 19), Hafidz, 30, was jailed for one month and eight weeks after admitting to 10 counts under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, and one charge each of perverting the course of justice and criminal intimidation. Twenty-two other charges, including one of causing hurt, were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Haniza Abnass said Hafidz befriended Ms Maizurah Abdullah, then 25, in August 2015, and started a relationship with her.

The portals, which come under the Home Affairs Ministry, can only be used for official purposes.

He used his own login details or those belonging to a colleague, Inspector Muhammad Ismail Jalil – which he obtained in September, saying it was for work-related purposes – to gain access to police reports.

Investigations showed that Hafidz accessed the two police portals to conduct searches on Ms Maizurah on five separate occasions between August and October that year.

His unlawful actions were discovered when he used his colleague’s login details to access the Cross portal for work, after his access rights were revoked due to his impending transfer to Rochor Neighbourhood Police Centre.

In November 2014, during investigations, Hafidz said he did not know Ms Maizurah. He added that all searches using Insp Ismail’s login details were for work.

When police questioned Ms Maizurah, she told them that she did not know Hafidz. Ms Maizurah was assured by Hafidz that the police will not question her further if she denied that she knew him.

In February last year, Hafidz confessed to knowing Ms Maizurah when he was confronted with the results of his screening history.

In a separate case, the court heard that Hafidz came to know a woman who was staying in a Geylang hotel in March last year, and they began a relationship.

During a heated argument on Feb 27 this year, Hafidz hit her. He took her mobile phone and threatened to post her nude photos on the Internet. The prosecutor said the victim herself had sent nude photos of herself to him, and she was afraid he would carry out his threat and tarnish her reputation.

Hafidz’s lawyer Nicolas Tang, who asked that Hafidz be spared jail, said his client acted out of curiosity and not with any sinister motive, malice or to sell the information.

Mr Tang said his client also regretted asking Ms Maizurah to give false information.

District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt agreed with the prosecution, and said the offences warrant jail time. He added that a strong signal should be sent to deter police officers from abusing their position and committing computer crimes.