Nov 13, 2013

    Enter 'The Messiah', claiming he's fine

    THE entrance of a thin, balding man into court yesterday lifted the veil on the person believed to be "The Messiah".

    Dressed smartly in a long-sleeved shirt and pants, and sporting a slight beard, James Raj Arokiasamy scanned the public gallery in court. His eyes did not settle on anyone.

    The 35-year-old Singaporean was yesterday charged with hacking the Ang Mo Kio Town Council website on Oct 28 this year.

    Court documents said that he accessed the content-management system of the website and modified its contents by adding an image of a Guy Fawkes mask and two banners with text.

    One of the banners read: "I have been to various sites and seen how they take the initiative to secure their systems. You have a brain & you have money. You had a choice. Don't blame external factors(Anonymous) for this hack. The Messiah ;)".

    Deputy Public Prosecutor Tang Shangjun said that James suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), borderline personality disorder, suicidal tendencies and depression, and also "sees things flashing".

    He asked that James be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). But when he was given a chance to speak later, James denied having the conditions, save for "mild ADHD" when he was younger.

    He said that his words were taken "out of context". He told the court that he mentioned the other conditions in response to being asked what the worst-case scenario would be for untreated ADHD.

    Pointing to the manner of his client's speech, James' lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, urged District Judge Kessler Soh not to remand him at the IMH as he did not suffer from any mental condition.

    DPP Tang countered that James was just "changing his tune".

    Judge Soh ruled that James, who was charged under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, will be remanded at the IMH for up to two weeks, and another week for further police investigations. During that time, he will not be allowed access to anyone other than IMH medical personnel.

    James is also believed to have hacked the websites of the PAP Community Foundation and City Harvest Church co-founder Sun Ho, and a blog belonging to The Straits Times.

    "The Messiah" had claimed responsibility for those attacks and said he was part of the international network of hackers and activists called Anonymous.

    Police said in a statement yesterday that they believe Raj acted alone. He left Singapore in 2011 when he was wanted for drug-related offences, before he was caught by Malaysian police.

    He was nabbed last week in an upscale Kuala Lumpur condominium, Dorchester Apartments, where he is believed to have carried out the hackings.

    He also faces three drug charges.

    His case will be mentioned again on Nov 26.