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Healing The Divide co-founder Iris Koh, 2 men charged with falsifying COVID vax status

Yahoo News logo Yahoo News 23/1/2022 Nicholas Yong

SINGAPORE — Iris Koh, the controversial 46-year-old co-founder of anti-vaccination group Healing The Divide, and two men have been charged with an offence of abetment by conspiracy to cheat.

They were earlier arrested for allegedly conspiring to submit false vaccination status to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

In a statement on Sunday (23 January), police said that two Singaporean men and a Singaporean woman were detained for conspiracy to cheat. A further eight persons are under investigation for their suspected involvement in this conspiracy.

Dr Jipson Quah, 33, and Thomas Chua, 40, were each charged on Friday with an offence of abetment by conspiracy to cheat. Koh was charged on Sunday with an offence of criminal conspiracy to cheat.

All three have been remanded for further investigations.

The offences of abetment by conspiracy to cheat and criminal conspiracy to cheat are both punishable with imprisonment for a term of up to three years, or a fine, or both.

Police report by MOH

On Friday, the MOH informed police of their investigations into a registered medical practitioner for an offence under the Infectious Diseases (Antigen Rapid Test Providers) Regulations 2021. It was suspected that he had submitted false information to the National Immunisation Registry that he had administered COVID-19 vaccines to individuals, when in fact he had not.

The trio were arrested on the same day.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the two men, a doctor and his assistant, had allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to cheat MOH by submitting the aforesaid false information with the intention to induce MOH to issue the Certificate of Vaccination against COVID-19 in the TraceTogether application.

Koh is said to have referred clients, believed to be members of Healing The Divide (HTD), to Quah and had also suggested administering something in lieu of the vaccine to patients.

This is not Koh's first brush with the law. She is also currently under investigation for an alleged offence of abetment by instigation of persons to obstruct public servants in the discharge of their public functions.

MOH filed a police report against HTD in January, noting that Koh had exhorted parents to “visit paediatric vaccination centres to overwhelm on-site medical staff with questions”.

Four clinics suspended, investigations ongoing

Separately, MOH said on Sunday that it will be issuing notices of intention of suspension to four medical clinics which were licensed to Dr Quah and/or where he is a clinic manager, as well as revoking the ART approvals for these clinics.

They are Wan Medical Clinic, Mayfair Medical Clinic, Mayfair Medical Clinic (Yishun Chong Pang), and Ong Clinic & Surgery (Yishun). Dr Quah will also be referred to the Singapore Medical Council for further investigations.

The suspensions are in order to safeguard public health and ensure that clinic practices are in line with national COVID-19 policies and regulations, said the ministry.

Wan Medical Clinic allegedly partnered Koh to offer “remote” ART Pre-Event Testing (PET) for members of HTD. MOH started its investigations following anonymous feedback last December.

The clinic was said to have allowed individuals to submit to the clinic pre-recorded videos and/ or photos purporting to show that they had performed ART PET on themselves. The clinic then uploaded the negative ART results for these individuals.

MOH noted that supervised PET must be conducted in real time and in the presence of a registered medical practitioner or qualified self-administered test supervisor. Conducting any unsupervised PET is against the law, and the test provider could face a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or both.

In addition, Dr Quah allegedly submitted a false positive ART result to the Patient Risk Profile Portal, a national healthcare system used by doctors to upload ART results and other patient information. This was so that the unvaccinated patient could obtain a recovered status and be exempted from vaccination-differentiated safe management measures.

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