The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Tuesday (7th April) said a “stern warning” was administered to the young person responsible for creating the hoax message on the demise of Mr Lee Kuan Yew on 18th March, which was widely circulated.
According to The Straits Times, the AGC’s statement said:
The Police have completed investigations into the case reported on 18 March 2015 where a fake screenshot photograph of a statement purportedly from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) website was circulated. The culprit is a male Singaporean student below 16 years of age. In consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Police have issued him with a stern warning in lieu of prosecution.ADVERTISEMENT
The student (“Z”), was located by the police and interviewed.
No hacking or unauthorised access of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) took place, according to the AGC press release.
CNA reports that the AGC also added:
Crucially, Z never intended his ‘hoax’ message to be widely disseminated. Z asserts he created the image because he was frustrated with the frequent rumours about the demise of Mr Lee. Z wanted to demonstrate to his friends how easy it was for a hoax to be perpetuated, Z shared the image with his friends. Within two minutes thereafter, he informed his friends the image was not an actual photo, but by then, the image had been forwarded by one or more of the original recipients.
The hoax led some foreign outlets, including CNN, China’s CCTV, Sina, and Phoenix Chinese News to report that Mr Lee had died, only to retract the reports later.
Needless to say, some mayhem ensued.
Shortly after, the PMO said it’s lodging a police report about the hoax site and added that no new information had been released about Mr Lee’s condition since the afternoon.
The stern warning was administered in front of the young person’s parents. The decision was taken after careful consideration of all relevant factors including Z’s personal circumstances and readiness to accept responsibility, AGC said.
“Z has been extremely contrite and deeply regrets the inconvenience and embarrassment his conduct has caused. He had cooperated fully with the police and explained the circumstances that led to his creation of the photograph,” the press release said.
Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away on 23rd March.