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Ex-church staff jailed 20 months for secretly filming women in the toilet

SINGAPORE — A 30-year-old man who installed two pinhole cameras in public toilets at a church in Bukit Timah and attempted to sell the obscene video clips has been jailed 20 months and ordered to pay a fine of S$2,000 on Wednesday (March 2).

SINGAPORE — A 30-year-old man who installed two pinhole cameras in public toilets at a church in Bukit Timah and attempted to sell the obscene video clips has been jailed 20 months and ordered to pay a fine of S$2,000 on Wednesday (March 2).

Kenneth Yeo Jia Chuan pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including eight counts of insulting the modesty of a woman, one count of attempting to sell obscene videos and one count of possessing obscene films, for which he was fined S$2,000. Another 58 similar charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.

The court heard Wednesday that Yeo had planted two pinhole cameras in the church’s toilets to record “voyeuristic videos of unsuspecting females”. The cameras, hidden underneath the sink and the air freshener, could not easily be detected yet “captured clear and unobstructed” videos of multiple women using the toilet.

The former church employee revealed that he would plant the pinhole cameras on Sundays, as it was ‘service day’ and the church would be crowded with people. He was not employed by the church at the time of the offences.

He was found out after one of his victim’s, a 22-year-old student, was alerted to a video of her using the toilet that had been posted online. An unknown person using the moniker “Jeff Tan” on Facebook had given the victim two links to the videos, which she provided to police.

Upon his arrest in 2012, Yeo admitted to filming the victim, along with at least nine other victims, using the toilet between May and June 2011. He also admitted to attempting to sell the voyeuristic videos, which had captured images of the victims’ private parts, for about S$50 to S$70 online.

Yeo said he was in financial difficulty due to his failing business, and owed debtors about S$8,000. However, he was arrested before he could complete the transaction, though he had a ready buyer.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Rajiv Rai urged the court to impose a sentence of 20 to 21 months, “in light of the increase and prevalence in such voyeuristic offences” over the years, citing 27 similar cases reported by the media between 2015 and 2016.

The DPP also noted several aggravating factors in the case, including the “high degree of intrusion into the privacy of victims” and the fact that the videos were uploaded onto the Internet, leading to the public identification of two victims.

“The adverse effects on the identified victims can only be imagined”, the DPP said, adding that there are “no means to ensure that the uploaded videos are no longer in circulation”.

Yeo’s lawyer Mervyn Tan told the court his client is remorseful and “trying to change for the better” after being diagnosed with paraphilia, “where there is a very strong urge to give in to his fetish for peeping or looking at secret images of women in the toilet”, a psychiatric report stated.

Yeo had worked for the church for two years, from 2008 until 2010 as a technician, and had spent his formative years in the church, having been brought there by his mother from a young age, Mr Tan said.

For insulting the modesty of a woman, Yeo could have been jailed up to one year and/or fined per charge. As for attempting to sell the obscene videos, he could have been jailed up to three months and/or fined. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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