Singapore doctor linked to HIV data leak accused of injecting others with illegal drugs for extra cash

Ler Teck Siang, unrepresented by a lawyer, is contesting one charge of administering methamphetamine, as well as another charge of being in possession of a drug utensil. ― Picture by Najeer Yusof via TODAY
Ler Teck Siang, unrepresented by a lawyer, is contesting one charge of administering methamphetamine, as well as another charge of being in possession of a drug utensil. ― Picture by Najeer Yusof via TODAY

SINGAPORE, May 31 — He allegedly used his medical skills to inject controlled drugs into others in a bid to earn some extra money, all while he was facing criminal charges related to his boyfriend, American fraudster Mikhy Farrera Brochez.

Ler Teck Siang, 37 — the doctor embroiled in the leak of confidential data on thousands of HIV-positive patients here — was “so proficient” that word of his “slamming” services spread, eventually reaching the ears of one Sim Eng Chee in 2017.

Slamming is a term used to describe the action of recreationally injecting drugs, typically in relation to gay and bisexual men.

This was the prosecution’s case against Ler, who began standing trial in the State Courts yesterday for purportedly administering methamphetamine to Sim in a hotel room last year.

Ler, unrepresented by a lawyer, is contesting one charge of administering methamphetamine, as well as another charge of being in possession of a drug utensil.

In its opening remarks, the prosecution — led by Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) Nicholas Wuan and Desmond Chong — charged that Ler “knows no bounds in betraying his professional and ethical standards in pursuit of his self-interests”.

“Despite the ongoing criminal proceedings against him, the accused decided to supplement his income via illicit sources When the law finally caught up with him, the accused showed no remorse, and even tried to use his status as a doctor to protest his arrest,” DPP Wuan told the court.

Alleged ‘slamming’ services

The prosecution said that it will be leading evidence during the trial to prove that Sim was introduced to Ler sometime in the second half of 2017.

Sim learned that Ler was a doctor, and allegedly engaged Ler’s “slamming” services on a number of occasions, including on February 26 and March 2 last year.

Ler allegedly injected Sim with methamphetamine, also known as Ice, on February 26 last year in a room at Swissotel the Stamford hotel.

A few days later, on March 2, at the hotel lobby of Conrad Centennial Singapore, Ler is said to have in his possession a syringe, intended for the administration of a controlled drug.

The prosecution called three witnesses to the stand yesterday. They were all working as security personnel at Conrad on March 2. They testified to discovering drugs and drug-related paraphernalia in a 14th-floor hotel room registered under Sim’s name.

They also testified that they then locked the hotel room, before Sim and Ler returned and tried to enter to no avail.

The pair then went to the reception on the ground floor, where they were detained and escorted to the hotel’s fire command centre. Narcotics officers took over the matter and arrested them.

Several items were seized from the hotel room, including a used syringe, two straws, a white bottle, and three packets of drugs.

Analysts from the Health Sciences Authority found that one packet contained 0.14g of ketamine, while the other two contained 0.92g and 0.42g of methamphetamine respectively. The straws were stained with cocaine and methamphetamine.

Besides the three security personnel, the prosecution will be calling 20 other witnesses, including Sim.

They will also use text message records from Sim’s mobile phone to prove that Ler knew he was injecting methamphetamine into Sim.

Sim has since been dealt with separately in court.

New charges unrelated to HIV data leak

Ler’s current trial before District Judge Christopher Goh is not related to the HIV data scandal earlier this year, which affected 14,200 individuals here.

His partner, Brochez, is accused of leaking the records of HIV patients from a Ministry of Health (MOH) registry — data he had gotten through Ler, who was previously the head of MOH’s National Public Health Unit.

Ler lost his appeal in March against his conviction for helping Brochez cheat on a blood test, so he could continue working in Singapore, and of providing false information to the police and MOH. Ler is now serving a two-year jail sentence for these offences.

Separately, the prosecution applied for two other charges against Ler to be stood down. They are for failing to provide a urine sample to the Central Narcotics Bureau on March 2 last year and for failing to take reasonable care of confidential information regarding HIV-positive patients under the Official Secrets Act.

If convicted of administering methamphetamine, Ler could be jailed up to 10 years and fined up to S$20,000 (RM60,864). If convicted of possessing a drug utensil, he could be jailed up to three years and fined up to S$10,000.

The trial continues. ― TODAY

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