Policeman fined $10,000 for computer misuse
A SENIOR staff sergeant who used the police computer system to do an unauthorised search for his brother-in-law's girlfriend was sentenced to the maximum fine of $10,000 yesterday.
Kang Wei Chian, 40, pleaded guilty to two of seven charges of computer misuse at Police Cantonment Complex in May last year.
The policeman, with 22 years of good service, had logged into the Frontline Officers' Computerised System (Focus) to search for a unit at Tanglin Halt Road, which his brother-in-law and his girlfriend wanted to buy.
They suspected that the unit was subjected to harassment from an unlicensed moneylender.
After doing a search and determining that there were no hits against the unit, Kang informed his brother-in-law's girlfriend that it was safe to buy.
Focus, which falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs, allows police officers to lodge reports and carry out online searches for details of reports lodged by members of the public.
It also contains, among other things, the personal information of complainants, victims and witnesses.
All police officers know that the system can be used only for official purposes.
Kang's offences came to light in July last year after a supervisory audit check on Focus revealed several unauthorised screenings done by Kang.
The prosecution sought four weeks' jail for Kang, but his lawyer Daniel Atticus Xu had urged the court to impose a high fine or a short detention order.
District Judge John Ng said yesterday he was satisfied that what Kang had done was a "foolish act" rather than an abuse of his power for nefarious activities.
"So I am satisfied that a custodial sentence is not necessary in this case," he said.
The judge noted that there were similar cases in the past where a non-jail sentence but a heavy fine was imposed.
"I am sure other police officers will be warned by what has happened today... what has happened to you. Unfortunately, you tried to help your wife... and now your wife has abandoned you," he said.
Kang, who has been suspended from duty, is undergoing divorce proceedings.
He could have been fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to two years on each charge.