An HIV-positive American who had been deported from Singapore after serving a jail term has leaked online the personal data of 14,200 Singaporeans and foreigners diagnosed in the city-state with the virus.
The medical records belonged to 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners - including work and visit pass applicants and holders - diagnosed with the disease up to December 2011.
"This reminds us of the insufferable stigma, fear and discrimination that continues to surround people living with HIV in Singapore today", Yangfa said.
He was deported after a conviction for numerous fraud and drug-related charges almost two years ago, the agency said.
However, as far back as in May 2016, MOH has already received information that Farrera-Brochez possessed the confidential data from its HIV Registry.
His partner, who headed the ministry's National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013, had access to the confidential information, it added.
The ministry said it realised last May that Brochez "still had part of the records" from 2016 but they had not been disclosed in any way. "Our priority is the well-being of the affected individuals". It said they included HIV test results, names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses and other health information.
Singapore's health ministry has apologised over the leak, saying it became aware in 2016 that USA citizen Mikhy Farrera Brochez was in possession of confidential information that appeared to be from the country's HIV registry.
The latest leak comes months after a cyber attack resulted in the data of 1.5 million patients, including government officials and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, being compromised.
Authorities believe an HIV-positive American whose partner was a senior Singaporean doctor is behind the data breach.
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.
The government of Singapore is once again apologising for a serious breach of citizens' privacy: this time, the personal details of 14,200 individuals who tested positive for HIV, and 2,400 of their contacts, have been published online.
The Health Ministry has set up a hotline for those who need additional information, and counsellors are also available to assist them and to provide additional support if necessary, he said.
"Police will not hesitate to take stern action, including prosecution, against those who have breached the OSA".
Dr Ler Teck Siang was convicted in September of abetting Brochez in criminal activity, and sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment.
Jan 22, 2019: MOH was notified by police that confidential information from MOH's HIV Registry could be in Farrera-Brochez's possession, and had been leaked online. A police report was made by MOH but it did not inform the public about it.
The ministry in May 2016 had filed a police report stating that Brochez had confidential information that appeared to be from the HIV Registry, prompting a property search during which relevant information was found and seized.