Man who filmed unsuspecting men in intimate acts in public toilets pleads guilty

Nigel Chin
File photo of an iPhone: AFP

He went into the male public toilets in shopping malls along Orchard Road and captured videos of unsuspecting men in cubicles, most of which were obscene in nature.

On some occasions, Colin Teo Han Jern, 27, also took photos of his victims defecating or wiping their private parts.

The Malaysian pleaded guilty to five counts of making an obscene film, four counts of being a public nuisance and one count of possessing an obscene film on Friday (17 November) at the State Courts. Thirty other similar charges will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that Teo, who works as a sales executive at a pharmaceutical company, committed the crimes on 12 separate dates between 8 March 2016 and 9 September 2016. Most of the crimes were committed in Paragon or The Cathay.

Teo would enter a cubicle and place his mobile phone over the partition to capture his victims in the adjacent cubicles. Of the 17 videos found in his possession, five captured two males engaging in sex acts inside a toilet in Paragon, while 10 others captured his victims masturbating. Two videos were also captured when Teo took a trip to Japan.

He was finally caught when one of the victims noticed Teo’s phone while in a cubicle and snatched the device from him. The victim, who cannot be named due to a gag order, was shocked and deleted the photos of him.

While doing so, he noticed other obscene videos of other men using toilets, and refused to return the phone to Teo. The victim then reported Teo to the concierge at Paragon, who called the police.

It is unclear how many victims there were, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam said. The DPP did highlight that the offences were not one-off incidents, and that they “were planned and premeditated.

In her sentencing submissions, DPP Jesintha asked for a total of 24 weeks’ jail and a $4,000 fine. She said there were aggravating factors, and general and specific deterrences were needed in this case. “The degree of intrusion was very great… the victims were in locked toilets and videos captured them in very private and intimate act,” she added.

“Even though videos were not circulated, there was a risk of dissemination even though it didn’t happen. Any member of public, whether male or female, has a reasonable expectation of privacy in a cubicle,” Jesintha said.

Teo’s case will be heard in court again on 1 December. He is represented by Chua Eng Hui.