A Singaporean student below 16 years-old received a stern warning from the police for circulating a fake death announcement for former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on 18th March.

A police statement said, “In consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Police have issued [the culprit] with a stern warning in lieu of prosecution,”

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said that the Prime Minister’s Office website was not hacked or accessed illegally. However, the AGC said the teen did not intend for the message to go viral.

“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,” said the AGC’s statement. “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 image succeeded in fooling some international news outlets including CNN and Chinese broadcaster CCTV.

The boy could have been fined up to $50,000 or jailed up to 10 years or both under Section 4(1) of the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, Chapter 50A.

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