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Jail for man who amassed 1,500 obscene files of women, minors over 13-year period using spy cams

SINGAPORE — A district judge said on Thursday (June 4) that he has “not come across such an egregious case” of its kind as that of a married man who, in 13 years, used spy devices such as camera sticks and watches to film unsuspecting women and underage persons.

Jail for man who amassed 1,500 obscene files of women, minors over 13-year period using spy cams

A close-up of a mini spy camera.

SINGAPORE — A district judge said on Thursday (June 4) that he has “not come across such an egregious case” of its kind as that of a married man who, in 13 years, used spy devices such as camera sticks and watches to film unsuspecting women and underage persons.

The man struck at locations such as changing rooms at Cotton On clothing stores, the toilet in his own home, and the restroom of his church. Some of his church victims were prepubescent minors.

He began doing this from the time he was 18 in 2003 to April 2016, and his hard drive had almost 700 obscene videos and 821 photographs in it when he was finally caught.

On Thursday, the 35-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to two years and three months’ jail. He cannot be named due to a court order to protect the identities of his victims, some of whom personally knew him.

He pleaded guilty earlier in February to four counts of insulting a woman’s modesty. Nine other such charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court previously heard that he saved the obscene video files with prefixes in order to find them more easily, such as “church”, “family” and “cotton on”.

Aside from filming up the skirts of women, he filmed them changing their clothes and relieving themselves in a toilet or showering. He knew some of them from various social circles.

The recording and spying devices he used — six cameras, five watches, two pens, three camera sticks and a clock — were bought online or from Sim Lim Square. The spy cameras were all implanted in the various everyday items that had a video recording function.

‘OBVIOUSLY FOR REPEATED VIEWING’

In passing the sentence, District Judge Adam Nakhoda said that the man’s offences were highly premeditated.

“I have to state that, with regard to this case, I personally have not come across such an egregious case insofar as the scope and scale. The offending here… involved in excess of 1,500 incidents. 

“The videos recorded were obviously for repeated viewing as he curated a filing system to store these videos… Some videos were explicit as the victims were fully nude and their faces were captured.”

Referring to a medical report, the judge noted that it comprised “vague statements” that the man had been exposed to inappropriate sexual priming at a young age, and that the offences were “an accident waiting to happen”.

“I find it difficult to understand how offending can be described as an accident,” District Judge Nakhoda said.

The man’s actions were not impulsive either and instead “smacks of deliberate planning”, he added.

WHAT HE DID

The court earlier heard that the man either used his mobile phone to take the videos, or hid a camera in the toilet and left it there on video recording mode.

He even took videos of a bride and her bridesmaids changing their clothes in an unknown hotel room in 2013.

Based on the length of the footage he got, he used software to extract the relevant portions capturing the victims naked. He would then save the files of victims he deemed “attractive or acceptable” into a corresponding folder on his hard drive.

The authorities seized 13 hard drives, four internal hard disks and his mobile phone from him when he was arrested.

He saved video files of the same victim in a common folder as well, with a consistent naming convention containing a prefix and suffix. The prefixes referred to where he took the videos, such as “family”.

If he personally knew the victim, he would also give the folder a suffix that corresponded to their names or identities. If not, he used descriptions of their physical looks or their clothing.

He took screenshots of some of the videos as well, saving them in the same subfolder as a highlight of the full video clips.

On April 13, 2016, he targeted one of his 19-year-old colleagues, who was trying on a new dress in the toilet of their workplace. Another colleague had just given it to her as a birthday present.

He followed her, went to the back of the toilet and started to film her through the window. She noticed his phone and tried to snatch it away, but he pulled his hand back and fled.

As he ran away, she looked through the window and recognised him. She told the other colleagues about what had happened.

The man then went to a nearby shop and deleted the video footage, returned to the workplace and feigned ignorance, claiming he had left to buy a drink with two other male colleagues.

The victim filed a police report the next day. About a week later, when police officers came to investigate the complaint, he lied again that he had not filmed the victim.

Closed-circuit television footage, along with interviews with the two male colleagues, soon exposed his lies.

During the interview with the police, the investigation officer grew suspicious when he saw the man’s internet browsing history on his mobile phone.

He had searched for how to delete documents from that particular phone model, and the phone contained only a few photos, even though he had downloaded many photo and video editing applications.

Because of this, the police raided his home later that day.

Related topics

court crime hidden camera obscene video upskirt voyeurism

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