Lee Hsien Loong deepfakes

Screenshot of the latest deepfake videos featuring Singapore SM Lee Hsien Loong. Image courtesy: Instagram/leehsienloong

Lee Hsien Loong, the current Senior Minister of Singapore who was prime minister until May 14 this year, has once again been targeted by deepfakes. He has himself posted the news on Instagram a few hours ago.

These latest scam videos show Lee Hsien Loong purportedly commenting on international matters. He clarified in Instagram: “I posted on scam videos earlier this month. But there have also been deepfake videos of me supposedly commenting on international relations, foreign leaders, and other subjects which I have spoken about.

“The motive of these deepfakes may not be commercial, but their malicious intent is clear. Someone behind them wants to make it seem that these are views supported by me or the Singapore government. This is dangerous and potentially harmful to our national interests.”

There have been at least two other instances where Lee’s digital likeness has been misused by deepfakes, and these were meant to trap people in financial fraud.

In early June 2024, he alerted the public to an investment scam using his deepfake image; in late December 2023, the then Singapore prime minister urged the public not to fall for a deepfake video that misused him to promote an investment supposedly approved by the Singapore government.

Screenshot of a recent deepfake video featuring Singapore SM Lee Hsien Loong
Screenshot of a recent deepfake video featuring Singapore SM Lee Hsien Loong. This video promotes a scam investment. Image courtesy: Instagram/leehsienloong

In his latest message, Lee Hsien Loong wrote: “If you come across such videos, please always check if they are real. Don’t share them, not even to tell people that they are fake, as viewers may not read your comment and wrongly assume that the videos are real. Instead, you can report them directly on the respective platform app.”

He added: “Authentic videos of me can be found on the PMO YouTube channel, PMO website, or official media sites. – LHL”

In his earlier post this month, cautioning the public against walking into deepfake-driven money scams, Lee Hsien Loong wrote: “You might have seen a deepfake video of me asking viewers to sign up for an investment product that claims to have guaranteed returns. The video is not real!”

Warning people against the deepfake mischiefs made possible by Artificial Intelligence (AI), he wrote: “AI and deepfake technology are becoming better by the day. On top of mimicking my voice and layering the fake audio over actual footage of me making last year’s National Day Message, scammers even synced my mouth movements with the audio. This is extremely worrying: people watching the video may be fooled into thinking that I really said those words.”

Reminding people of a time-tested adage, Lee wrote: “Please remember, if something sounds too good to be true, do proceed with caution. If you see or receive scam ads of me or any other Singapore public office holder promoting an investment product, please do not believe them. You can also report them via the government’s ScamShield Bot on WhatsApp at go.gov.sg/scamshield-bot.

“I thank the many of you who alerted me to this latest scam. We must stay vigilant in order to protect ourselves and the ones around us. – LHL”