NTU undergraduate who hacked Kopitiam cards for food, drinks, cigarettes pleads guilty and awaits sentencing

NTU undergraduate who hacked Kopitiam cards for food, drinks, cigarettes pleads guilty and awaits sentencing

On Monday (9 March), Tee Chin Yue was convicted after pleading guilty to one charge under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act. A similar charge was taken into consideration in sentencing.

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate was charged for hacking Kopitiam cards for food, drinks, and cigarettes.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) David Koh urged the court to jail Tee for at least 14 months. The DPP argued that Tee used his expertise as a computer science major to exploit the system and cover his tracks. He said Tee was motivated by greed and should receive little sympathy.

However, Tee’s lawyer, Mr Edmond Pereira, asked the court to call for a report to determine his client’s suitability for probation.

Mr Edmond explained that his client deserved a second chance, and he has written about a solution to the loophole as part of his final-year thesis.

To support this claim, Mr Edmond presented a character reference letter by Tee’s work superior at Trusted Services, a subsidiary of Temasek Management Services. Contents of the letter reveal that the company intends to keep him as an employee regardless of the sentence.

District Judge Eddy Tham said he would like more time to consider the appropriate sentence, and adjourned sentencing to next month.

Tee is out on bail for S$10,000 and is expected to be back in court on 1 April.

For the charges of hacking the cards, Tee could face a jail time for up to three years, or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

Tee who is now a graduate from NTU has made full restitution to Kopitiam.

Background of Tee

Tee is a Malaysian who had come to Singapore to study on an Asean scholarship. In 2015, while pursuing a computer engineering degree at NTU, he began hacking stored value cards for hostel air-conditioning.

Around August 2015, this habit was perfected into the hacking of four Kopitiam cards more than 130 times. To avoid being traced by authorities, he would often change the last four digits of the hacked cards.

Tee then proceeded to hack cards to top-up Singtel pre-paid SIM cards. Following this, he created a business-like service of offering discounted top-ups through online platforms such as Carousell. Tee is said to have made a sum of S$34,000 from the online platform.

However, a year later, Tee observed that the hacked cards had stopped working. In a desperate attempt to abscond, he had discarded all the hacked cards.

Unbeknownst to Tee, the police were actively investigating the case after a police report was filed.

He was then finally arrested on 24 July 2017.

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