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Ex-NTU researcher jailed for taking upskirt photos of 400 women over 6 years, including on campus

SINGAPORE — When a man spotted Guo Zhihong surreptitiously taking upskirt photos in Orchard last year, he confronted Guo who refused to show his mobile phone’s photo gallery and then tried to flee.

Ex-NTU researcher jailed for taking upskirt photos of 400 women over 6 years, including on campus

Guo Zhihong at the State Courts on March 21, 2022.

  • Guo Zhihong, 30, began his voyeuristic spree in 2015
  • The NTU research staff member took upskirt photos at various places around Singapore
  • He was caught in April last year when another man noticed him filming up a woman's skirt on an escalator
  • He repeatedly refused to show them his mobile phone and tried to flee
  • NTU told TODAY Guo was terminated as an employee on April 22, 2021

SINGAPORE — When a man spotted Guo Zhihong surreptitiously taking upskirt photos in Orchard last year, he confronted Guo who refused to show his mobile phone’s photo gallery and then tried to flee.

Guo, who was working as a research staff member at Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the time, had been taking upskirt photos since 2015.

Prosecutors told a district court that he had no fewer than 400 victims, and struck at locations that included the university campus.

On Monday (March 21), the 30-year-old China national was sentenced to 10 months and five weeks’ jail. He began serving his sentence immediately, having been in Singapore on an S Pass which allows mid-level skilled foreign employees to work here.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of voyeurism and insulting a woman’s modesty, with another seven similar charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that he would take voyeuristic photos of women wearing skirts, shorts or yoga pants whom he found attractive.

He struck at MRT stations — including those near NTU such as Pioneer and Boon Lay — and malls such as Lucky Plaza, 313@somerset and Bugis Junction.

Court documents showed that he also targeted women on the NTU campus such as the overhead bridge near Lee Wee Nam Library, the vicinity of Hall 11, a staircase within the South Spine area and a staircase outside Nanyang Auditorium.

After taking the photos, he transferred them from his mobile phone to an old hard disk.

When the hard disk was about to break down in 2019, he transferred the photos to a folder named “j” on his laptop. Within that folder, he had more folders of photos arranged chronologically by date.

HOW OFFENCES CAME TO LIGHT

His actions went undetected until April 11 last year when he was at Orchard MRT Station. He had planned to have dinner by himself and take upskirt photos.

At about 8.15pm, he followed two women as they walked from Ion Orchard mall towards Wheelock Place.

He then took voyeuristic photos of one of them, who was wearing a pair of shorts with overlapping fabric to give the appearance of a skirt, while they were on an escalator going up at Wheelock Place.

Another man on the same escalator noticed this. When they got off, he asked the two women if Guo was their friend.

They said no and he told them about Guo’s suspicious behaviour, including standing close to them and filming them from a low angle.

He then confronted Guo and asked to take a look at his mobile phone’s photo gallery. Guo denied taking any upskirt photos and refused to show them his phone, then fiddled with it in what looked like an attempt to do a factory reset.

When the victim’s friend stopped him, Guo eventually unlocked his mobile phone and showed them a random album in his phone photo gallery with no photos. He also reduced the brightness of his screen so that they could not see it clearly.

The court further heard that he gave several excuses such as his phone running low on battery, or having personal content in the device that he did not want them to see.

He then tried to leave but was detained by the other man and two other male passersby.

When security guards arrived and questioned Guo, he again denied taking the photos and refused to show them his mobile phone. This happened again when police officers arrived.

The officers seized the device and found multiple photos of female subjects’ buttocks. Guo then admitted to taking upskirt photos for the past few weeks, though further investigations revealed that he had done so since 2015.

When police officers seized his other electronic devices, they found 622 upskirt images of 100 unknown women taken around Singapore in 2020.

They also found that Guo had taken 315 such images in 2016.

Those convicted of voyeurism — which was prosecuted under the provision of insulting a woman’s modesty until 2020 — can be jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of the three.

Those convicted of insulting a woman’s modesty can be jailed for up to a year or fined, or both.

Responding to queries from TODAY, an NTU spokesperson said on Monday: "NTU has a zero tolerance stance towards all forms of harassment, including voyeurism and sexual misconduct."

Guo was terminated as an employee of NTU with effect from April 22, 2021, the spokesperson added.

Related topics

crime court NTU voyeurism upskirt pornography

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