We received a tip from a user who sent us the following image from the social media site Facebook:
The image depicted the former Mediacorp actor Gurmit Singh, best known for playing the character Phua Chu Kang in the sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, being accompanied by two officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF). The image appeared to be from an article on Yahoo News, which largely aggregates news reports from other sites rather than publish its own.
The caption of the image said, ‘He did not realize that the camera was still filming… is this the end of his career?’. The caption appeared to suggest that Singh had been arrested after being caught on film committing an offence, though there were no additional details detailing the nature of the offence.
This One Fake, Lah
We were unable to locate the image on Facebook and Yahoo News when we attempted to do so. Keyword searches on Yahoo News and Facebook led to no article that matched that in the image.
When we conducted a reverse image search, however, we found that the image in the Facebook was likely to have been a digitally altered fake. The search results led us to an image on the website of SPF. The image was part of a 3 July 2023 press release on a successful joint operation between SPF and the Royal Malaysia Police that led to busting of a transnational scam syndicate and money-laundering operation on 26 June this year.
The Facebook photo also suggests that Singh’s ‘arrest’ has put his career at risk, alluding to his role in film and television. However, in a 2019 interview with 8 Days, Singh explains that he had ended his long career as a full-time Mediacorp artiste in 2014, and had since been working as a freelancer before starting as a radio host on the radio station GOLD 905’s morning show shortly before the interview.
Click at Your Own Risk
While researching this factcheck, we found that Singh had on multiple occasions recently warned the public of scammers using images of him. These scams relied on digitally altering the images to appear like screenshots of news reports accompanied with vague, clickbait titles. An accompanying link to the fake image would then be used to exploit curious readers, which could direct to phishing sites or fraudulent platforms for payments.
Singh was not the only celebrity whose photos had been manipulated by scammers. The news site Mothership identified that other celebrities like Mark Lee and Xiang Yun had also had their photos exploited in a similar manner.
It is therefore false that Gurmit Singh had been arrested, as the image has been digitally altered to superimpose Singh’s head on another body.