Vivian Balakrishnan, Tan Wu Meng get letters with ‘distasteful’ photos, threats, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Vivian Balakrishnan, Tan Wu Meng get letters with ‘distasteful’ photos, threats

Several politicians are among dozens of people here who have received letters with manipulated photos, along with an extortion demand.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Dr Tan Wu Meng and Mr Edward Chia put up social media posts on April 20, and said that they have filed police reports.

Mr Chia, an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said he had received a “distasteful photo” where his face was digitally manipulated onto a figure, accompanied by an extortion demand.

Dr Tan, an MP for Jurong GRC, said the police are investigating.

On April 19, The Straits Times reported that more than 70 people received letters of extortion containing manipulated photographs of themselves in lewd poses in March and April 2024.

The letters were sent to recipients’ workplaces and warned of “threatening consequences” if they did not contact the e-mail addresses provided, said the police.

Dr Balakrishnan, who is also an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC as well as Singapore’s Foreign Minister, made reference to news reports about this police statement in his Facebook post. He described these acts as “deplorable”, and “totally contrary to the value and good practices that we are trying to inculcate in our society”.

“In this age of deep fakes and scams, we must take a strong collective stand against such conduct,” said Dr Balakrishnan.

Mr Chia said that while it is not uncommon for public figures to face extortion scams, the increasing popularity of deepfakes makes it harder to discern reality from fiction.

“With readily available tools, anyone can create deepfake content within minutes,” said Mr Chia.

“This can pose a significant threat to our social fabric. Unchecked, this can affect our public standing and those we love.”

Dr Tan said he did not want to speculate on who the perpetrators are and where they are located, and why such acts are happening now at a “very important time in Singapore’s history”.

“But let me say this: We are not afraid. And we will not let anyone intimidate us or deter us from doing our duty,” said Dr Tan.


A post shared by Tan Wu Meng (@tanwumeng)