Ex-SingTel engineer jailed for OpenNet cable sabotage

Former engineer sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment for damaging fiber optic cables belonging to OpenNet consortium which includes his ex-employer SingTel.

SINGAPORE--A former engineer from Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has been sentenced to 15 months' jail for damaging fiber optic cable installations belonging to OpenNet.

Local broadcaster Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported Monday that Terrance Tan Khoon Shan, 35, was convicted of cutting fiber cables in 12 residential estates, including Clementi, Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh, on more than 600 occasions between March and May last year. The total damage caused by Tan amounted to S$185,820 (US$148,283), according to local daily The Straits Times, which is part of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

OpenNet is a consortium of four companies--Axis NetMedia, SingTel, SPH and Singapore Power Telecommunications--that has been tasked to build Singapore's nationwide fiber broadband network.

The now-unemployed Tan, who faced 617 charges of cable cutting, admitted to 60 charges of cable cutting, CNA said. The court heard that he committed the offences after being terminated by SingTel in September 2010. He joined the local telco in August 2009.

When contacted, a SingTel spokesperson said: "We have measures in place to prevent such incidents from occurring again. We do not comment on HR (human resources) matters relating to individual employees."

The district judge dismissed Tan's claims that he was suffering from mental problems, stating he was "fully aware what he did was wrong, but he was overcome by his motive to seek revenge".

Tan was sentenced to three months' jail on each of the 60 charges, with five to run consecutively, totaling 15 months' imprisonment. He could have faced up to three years' jail and a maximum fine of S$10,000 (US$7,979) on each charge.

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