Lee Kuan Yew Singapore
Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew watches Singapore's National Day parade celebrations August 9, 2013.Reuters

As Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew remains critically ill, rumours about his death that sparked off on Wednesday pushed the police into conducting a probe and the authorities into swiftly dismissing the news. 

On Wednesday, a website impersonating that of the Prime Minister's Office, announced Lee Kuan Yew's death, even prompting several foreign news organisations to report the 91-year-old's demise. 

The Singapore police are now bent on cracking down on the rumour-mongers. 

"We take a very stern view against anyone who doctors a Government website to spread false information to deceive the public," Melvin Yong, Assistant Commissioner of Police,  told The Straits Times

"Lee Kuan Yew is alive", Farah Rahim, senior director for the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information announced. 

Lee has been battling severe pneumonia since 5 February, and his condition worsened on Wednesday. 

As the rumours about his death broke, leading media organisations, including CNN, carried the news on their social media accounts and later deleted them. 

"CNN published that news on its breaking news Twitter account before updating the account to quote Singapore's government spokesman dismissing the news as a hoax. The network has since deleted the original tweet," the channel said in its report

China's CCTV, Sina and Phoenix Chinese News also carried the false reports, and later issued an apology, according to The Strait Times.

Lee is regarded as the founder of  the city state after it declared its independence from Malaysia in 1965, and served as its prime minister for over three decades.