The data is in the possession of Mikhy K. Farrera Brochez, a male USA citizen who lived in Singapore from 2008 to 2016, the ministry said.
Brochez, who could not be reached for comment, was reportedly deported after serving a 28-month sentence.
Brochez, who lived in Singapore between January 2008 and June 2016, obtained the documents from Ler Teck Siang, his Singaporean partner who worked as the head of MOH's National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013. The HIV information leak was not related to the cyber breach.
Confidential information of 14,200 people with HIV, including their names, contact details and medical information, has been stolen and leaked online, and the culprit is an American fraudster, the Ministry of Health revealed on Monday (Jan 28). Local media reports suggest that 900 affected persons have been contacted so far.
"We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident", said the ministry in a statement.
The ministry says they are working with 'relevant parties to scan the Internet for signs of further disclosure of the information.' The Ministry apologized for the leak and say they are working with the affected parties.
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The records leaked were those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners, including work and visit pass applicants and holders, diagnosed with HIV up to December 2011. "Our priority is the wellbeing of the affected individuals. A person found guilty of the wrongful possession, communication or use of confidential data shall be liable to a fine not exceeding S$2,000 [roughly $1,500 US], and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years", a police statement said. His partner previously had access to the HIV registry for his work, it said.
Brochez - who could not be reached for comment - is now under investigation by Singaporean police, "and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts", the statement said. He also was charged under Singapore's Official Secrets Act for failing to adopt reasonable care with confidential data regarding HIV-positive patients. The American was deported in May 2018, after which the Health Ministry was notified that he still held on to some records from 2016, though, the data then did not appear to have been exposed.
"This may have led to an unauthorized person gaining possession of the data and disclosing it online", he said.
He was convicted in September previous year of abetting Farrera-Brochez to cheat and of providing false information to the police and Ministry of Health (MOH).
Ler resigned in January 2014 and was convicted of abetting Brochez to commit fraud and providing false information to the police and Health Ministry. He was sentenced to 24 months in jail but has since filed an appeal which will be heard in March.
While the MOH statement doesn't give an exact motive for the leak, it does state that it was the result of "mishandling of information by Ler, who is suspected of not having complied with the policies and guidelines on the handling of confidential information".