5 charged with using illegally obtained personal data to register more than 460 prepaid SIM cards

5 charged with using illegally obtained personal data to register more than 460 prepaid SIM cards

SINGAPORE: Four men and a woman have been charged over a case where customers’ personal data was illegally used to register more than 460 prepaid SIM cards.

One of them, a mobile phone retailer, allegedly used photocopied passports to register the SIM cards.

The five accused, who are either mobile phone retailers or shop assistants, were on Thursday (Jan 20) given various charges of illegally obtaining personal information and unauthorised modification of computer materials.

According to a police statement, their suspected modus operandi was to exploit customers’ personal information when they handed over documents to register for prepaid SIM cards. The suspects would then register for additional prepaid SIM cards under Singtel, M1 and StarHub.

Under the rules, each subscriber may register only up to three prepaid SIM cards.

The four men handed between four and six charges are Bangladeshi national Ershad Uddin Majumder, 38 and Singaporeans Glenn Ng Rong Zhen, 23; Lee Zu Sheng, 27; and Arepu, 40.

The woman charged was Thin Thiri Aung, a 38-year-old Myanmar national also known as Thida Aung. She received nine charges, the most among the group.

Arepu, who is also known as Su Shi Rong, is accused of retaining the personal information of 37 people in the form of passport or work permit numbers between January 2020 and August 2020.

In that period, he allegedly used the personal information of those people to register for 57 M1, StarHub and Singtel prepaid SIM cards without their consent.

Arepu is also accused of carrying on an unlicensed remittance business at Peninsula Plaza between 2012 and January 2020, by transmitting money to people in Myanmar in exchange for service fees.

The police said they take “a serious view” of mobile phone retailers and assistants who exploit and misuse people’s personal data to fraudulently register prepaid SIM cards.

This is because they may be “indirectly facilitating illegal activities such as unlicensed moneylending, scams and vices”.

The police advised the public to refrain from buying pre-registered prepaid SIM cards and to maintain a clear view of their identification documents when registering for prepaid SIM cards to prevent their misuse.

The offence of illegally obtaining personal information is punishable with a jail term that may extend to three years, a maximum fine of S$10,000, or both. 

The offence of unauthorised modification of computer materials carries a jail term of up to three years, a fine not exceeding S$10,000, or both.

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