Ex-ICA officer admits to falsely accusing former boss of taking indecent pictures in public toilet
After he was accused of being a possible Peeping Tom, his home and his office at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) were raided, and he was hauled up for multiple interviews.
Subjected to a month-long police investigation, Superintendent (Supt) Lee Teck Seng, 46, also had his passport impounded, his phone seized and his family's electronic devices searched.
But the allegations e-mailed to nine members of ICA's senior management, including ICA commissioner Marvin Sim and deputy commissioner Hsu Sin Yun, were in fact concocted by a disgruntled former subordinate who used a fake moniker.
Yesterday, Thomas Foo Jian Yao, 29, who held the rank of assistant superintendent, pleaded guilty to providing false information to a public servant.
Foo resigned from ICA last month after being interdicted from service on Dec 5 last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Emily Koh told District Judge Ong Chin Rhu that Foo was angry with Supt Lee, who was his supervisor for two years from October 2016, as he felt the latter had discredited him in front of his new superiors.
On Aug 8 last year, while on holiday in Phuket, Foo bought a phone and SIM card, and set up an e-mail account there.
He sent the e-mail to the nine recipients, claiming to be a counsellor named Joseph.
He said Supt Lee had pointed his phone camera at another man in a Seah Imm Food Centre toilet, and could have taken photos of the man's private parts.
He also said he saw Supt Lee board an ICA shuttle bus, and attached a cropped version of his ex-boss' WhatsApp picture.
A police report was lodged and an e-mail was sent to "Joseph" the next day seeking help with investigations.
Foo replied on Aug 21, saying he did not have time for an interview.
But police were able to trace the file information from the photo attached in the first e-mail to Phuket, and Foo's Aug 21 reply to a mall in Tampines, where he used the public Wi-Fi and the phone he bought in Thailand to send it.
Foo finally came clean on Sept 3 after he was nabbed.
Asking for at least 12 weeks' jail, DPP Koh said Foo's actions were laced with malicious intent and put Supt Lee and his family through great inconvenience and embarrassment.
Significant public resources were expended and investigations would have continued if Foo had not been identified.
"This is not a case where there was a simple momentary lapse of judgment. (He) took deliberate steps to hoodwink the authorities and avoid responsibility for his actions," she said.
The case has been adjourned to April 16. For knowingly giving false information to a public servant, Foo can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.