Singapore — Ler Teck Siang, the other half of the pair of individuals at the heart of the HIV-leak scandal, was back in court on Thursday, May 30, on unrelated charges.
The doctor, who used to head the Health Ministry’s National Public Health Unit, reportedly injected drugs to drug abusers, providing what’s known as “slamming,” which means injecting illegal substances.
According to Nicholas Wuan, the Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Wuan on the case, Dr Lek’s reputation for “slamming” had reached the ears of a man named Sim Eng Chee, who arranged for Dr Lek to visit him for this purpose.
He reportedly went to The Stamford Hotel on February 26, 2018, to administer methamphetamine via injection to Mr Sim, an offence for which Dr Lek is now being charged.
The second charge Dr Lek is faced with is the possession of utensils intended for drug use at the Conrad Centennial Singapore hotel lobby on March 2, 2018.
Mr Wuan said, ”This is a case of a medical practitioner who knows no bounds in betraying his professional and ethical standards in pursuit of his self-interests.”
DPP Wuan and fellow prosecutor Desmond Chong will endeavor to show that Mr Sim was introduced to Dr Ler two years ago so that Mr Sim could avail of his “slamming” services.
However, by then Dr Ler had already run afoul of the law and was facing charges of abetment for cheating and giving a false statement to a public servant, in relation to the HIV-data leak, which also involves Dr Lek’s American husband, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez.
According to Messrs Wuan and Chong, in 2017 Mr Sim had already asked for Dr Ler’s “slamming” services several times, and then again on February 26 and March 2, 2018.
Hotel staff discovered drugs and drug paraphernalia at the hotel room where Mr Sim had stayed. When the two men were called back to the hotel, they were arrested, whereupon the police also found a syringe, two straws and a bottle among Dr Ler’s possessions.
He claimed, however, that these were only used by him, and that he is a doctor, which is why he carried the paraphernalia, where later traces of methamphetamine were found.
The prosecutors commented on Dr Ler’s attitude “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.”
The former head of the Health Ministry’s National Public Health Unit has chosen to represent himself and is already serving a two-year jail sentence for aiding his HIV-positive husband to cheat officials into issuing him a pass to work in Singapore, by submitting his own blood samples instead of Mr Farrera-Brochez’s.
Through Dr Ler, Mr Farrera-Brochez was also able to access the names, addresses, contact details and medical information of some 14,200 HIV-positive individuals in Singapore, and leaked this data online.
The doctor is facing an additional charge under the Official Secrets Act for failing to take reasonable care to retain possession of the information regarding the HIV-positive people. After his cheating conviction, his medical registration has been suspended for nine months.
His trial for the “slamming” related charges continues on Friday, May 31/ TISG