Ex-SCDF Major convicted of filming upskirt videos of colleague

Wan Ting Koh

A former Singapore Civil Service Defence Force (SCDF) officer would often chat with a colleague at her cubicle by sitting in front of her desk. But unbeknownst to her, he was filming upskirt videos of her on a number of occasions.

Poh Siok Peng, 45, was caught red-handed after hidden cameras from a “sting” operation filmed him in the act. He was convicted on two counts of insulting the modesty of a woman on Wednesday (3 May). Poh, who held the rank of Major in SCDF, is married with two children.

Poh, who had been with the SCDF since 1996, was attached to the Strategic Planning Department at SCDF’s Ubi headquarters when he committed the offences. The victim, a 26-year-old woman, was a management executive at the same department.

The court heard that sometime between January and February last year, the woman noticed that Poh frequented her office cubicle to chat with her outside of the usual tea time and lunch time.

She noticed that unlike other colleagues who stood by her desk, Poh would sit in front of her, especially when she was wearing a skirt or dress. While chatting with her, he would sit in an awkward position while constantly looking and bending down – as if reaching out for something under her desk.

On one occasion, during a conversation with Poh, she saw a light flash from under her desk and realised that Poh was taking upskirt photographs of her with his mobile phone.

According to the prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chee Ee Ling, the victim felt “alarmed and distressed”. She informed the SCDF’s Director of Manpower about the incident on 3 March, 2016.

To catch Poh, the SCDF Provost unit decided to conduct a “sting” operation. The unit planted hidden cameras in the vicinity of the woman’s cubicle on 9 March. On the same day, Poh came to the woman’s desk and was caught taking upskirt videos of the woman on camera.

The woman lodged a police report that evening.

Police retrieved two upskirt videos of the woman dated 4 and 9 March 2016 from Poh’s mobile phone. Poh also admitted to the police that he had been taking upskirt videos of the woman for two years before he was caught. He also confessed to taking an upskirt video of another woman on an escalator.

These videos were taken with a previous mobile phone which he had since sold. Poh said he deleted the videos before selling the phone.

Poh told the police that he would view these videos at night as a form of relieving stress.

DPP Chee, who asked for six weeks’ jail on each charge, cited several aggravating factors including the degree of planning and premeditation involved. “(Poh) would target the victim at her cubicle on the pretext of chatting with her,” she said.

However Poh’s lawyer, Tan Hee Jeok, disagreed, saying that the acts were “rather opportunistic”. He said that Poh was a victim of molest as a teenager and as a result, had flashbacks when he was stressed. The upskirt videos were a way to relieve himself, added Tan.

Tan said that there was no high degree of intrusion as the victim was wearing safety pants, hence Poh only managed to capture her thighs. The defence asked for a sentence of not more than four weeks’ jail.

DPP Chee, however, pointed out this was not a mitigating factor as it was “entirely fortuitous” that the victim had a habit of wearing safety pants.

Poh resigned after the incident and has been working in telesales and administration, earning $1,800 a month.

The case has been adjourned to 17 May for sentencing. For each charge of insulting the modesty of a woman, Poh could be jailed for up to one year and/or fined.