Lim Siong Khee v Public Prosecutor

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeP Siva Shanmugam
Judgment Date31 January 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGDC 32
Citation[2001] SGDC 32
Published date19 September 2003


Grounds of Decision


1. The accused claimed trial to a charge of causing Mailcity's email server to secure unauthorised access to the electronic mailbox of a mailcity email account holder, an offence under Section 3(1) of the Computer Misuse Act, Chapter 50A (Revised Edition 1998).

2. The charge against the accused reads as follows:

"You, Lim Siong Khee are charged that you, in the month of May 1999, in Singapore, did knowingly cause Mailcitys e-mail server to perform a function for the purpose of securing access without authority to the electronic mailbox of a mailcity account holder with the user name "chongyc", via remote dial-up access to the said server using the said user name and password without the consent of the account holder and you have committed an offence under Section 3(1) of the Computer Misuse Act, Chapter 50A (Revised Edition 1998)"

3. At the conclusion of the trial the court convicted the accused and sentenced him to imprisonment for a term of 5 months.


4. PW2 Ms Chong Yan Cheng gave evidence that at the material time she used her mailcity email account at to send personal and official emails to her friends and colleagues. She registered this account in 1998. The password to this email account was her birth date. She had 2 other email accounts namely and She first met the accused in 1998.

5. Ms Chong and the accused subsequently went on a trip to Europe together sometime in April 1999. Ms Chong added that the two were in a relationship during this period of time.

6. Upon their return to Singapore, Ms Chong decided to end their relationship as she felt that they were not compatible.

7. The accused did not receive this very well and began to stalk and harass her. The harassment took the form of junk emails, nuisance phone calls and trailing her physically.

8. In April 1999 Ms Chong was unable to log onto her email account at Assuming there was a problem with the server she ignored the matter. She was able to log on subsequently. However when her further attempts to log on where met with difficulties she began to suspect that someone may be tampering with her account. Her suspicions were confirmed when an email P8 dated 30 April 1999 was sent to her at Singapore Press Holdings with the message yan cheng, yr mailcity is out again..'. When she subsequently managed to gain access to her mailcity email account again she changed her password.

9. Ms Chong also told the court that she was puzzled when the accused knew her whereabouts and made this known to her. The accused had known about her stay in Mariott Hotel with two of her friends on 8 & 9 May 1999 and her meeting with NTUC.

10. On 9 May 1999, email P2 was sent from the account to several friends of Ms Chong. This email titled 'SPECIAL RELATION' was addressed to Ms Chong. It carried offensive descriptive details of her purported intimate relations with the accused on their Europe trip. This email caused much humiliation and embarrassment to Ms Chong. Both Ms Chong and one of the recipients of this mail namely PW1 Ms Iris Tang, were of the view that that it was the accused who had drafted and circulated this mail after gaining access to Ms Chong's mailcity email account. Ms Chong felt that the accused must have gained access to her mailcity email account by guessing the password correctly.

11. Ms Chong confronted the accused who then admitted to her that it was he who had accessed her mailcity email account after correctly guessing her password. He also admitted to changing the password intermittently thus preventing her from accessing her account on earlier occasions. The accused told her that he was able to gain access to the said account even after she changed the password as the computer would prompt the new password if one was to answer the hint question correctly. The answer to the hint question in this case was also Ms Chong's birthdate. The accused also told her that he was able to trace her physical whereabouts by reading the mails in her mailcity email account.

12. Ms Chong added that she had not at any one time authorised the accused to access her email account. Neither had she given him her password to any of her email accounts

13. Ms Chong's friend, Ms Tang, upon receipt of email P2, sent Ms Chong an email P3 consoling and encouraging her. In P3 Ms Tang also suggested to Ms Chong that she refer the matter to the police. Consequently, Ms Tang began to be harassed by prank calls and junk emails, some with pornographic attachments from pornographic websites. Some of these mails are found in P5 and P6. P5 is titled ' U ONLY MAKE THING WORST & GIVE HER MORE PROBLEM'. The first mail in P6 is titled 'Be Careful..'. Ms Tang perceived these mails as a threat to her. Another email received by her and exhibited in page 2 of P6 reads as follows :

"I travel to Europe with a girl for weeks. At this trips, we slept together in only bed. We have all kinds of fun in ours bed likes sexually aroused each other naked body, private parts, baths together and oral sex. These fun was happen almost every nights. In front of me, she even opened her pair of legs to show me peeing.

During the forth day, she suddenly sounded to me that she felt sorry for another guy for what she did with me in bed. I felt cheated when she quoted such words. I dont understand why a girl after sleeping with a you could think of another guy.

After our return. She listen too much from her friend who does not know our relation status in Europe. They taught her all kinds of way to get rid of me. I felt that to defence myself from such ideas, affirm that she will be counter for her deed.

Hope that her friend continue giving her more stupid ideas. So as to give more shame to herself, family and friends. Now, she is so shameless and worthless for me to go on with. I sincerely share my bad experience with all my friends and the news media."

14. Ms Tang felt that the accused was behind the harassment as he was the only one with the motive to embark on such an exercise. She did not have any enemies and the harassment only started after she had sent out P3.

15. The evidence from the computer forensic expert PW3 Chew Kiew Eng was that 2 of the relevant emails in this case, P11 (P3) and P13 (Page 2 of P6), have been retrieved from computer terminals in Feng Shan Community Centre. P11 is a copy of P3 forwarded by the accused to one of his own email accounts. The text of P13 was repeated in page 2 of the emails received by Ms Tang exhibited in P6.

16. PW4 Ms Ng Puay Leng testified that the accused visited Feng Shan Community Centre regularly. Ms Ng was a senior officer with the People's Association located at the said Community Centre. The accused was also a member of the Feng Shan Community Centre Computer Club. The accused had serviced her computer from time to time. She testified that on one of these occasions in June 1999, the accused had shown her an email with contents similar to that of P11. Ms Ng stated that the accused was angry and upset and wanted to teach Miss Chong a lesson. He felt he was cheated by Ms Chong. The accused also told her that Ms Tang should not come in between him and Ms Chong.


17. The case for the defence was one of consent. The accused claimed that Ms Chong had told him that the password to her mailcity email account was her birthdate whilst they were in Europe. On one occasion she had even told him to check her email on her behalf.

18. He admitted that he did access Ms Chong's email account on 10 May 99. He stated that Ms Chong had called him in the morning at 10.07 am on the said day and told him that Ms Tang had advised her to make a police report against him. She told the accused that he could go into her mailcity account to read the email from Ms Tang if he so desired. She also told the accused that she did want the mailcity account anymore. The accused claimed that this was the only occasion he had accessed her mailcity email...

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