A man who was caught recording several women who were using a public toilet in Tampines last Christmas was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail on Tuesday (26 March).
Bryan Fang Zhongquan, 30, was caught red handed after a woman noticed a mobile phone under a partition while she was using a toilet cubicle.
Fang was handed the sentence after he pleaded guilty to one count of trespassing into the female toilet at the NTUC Income Building in Tampines Avenue 5, and four counts of insulting women’s modesty by filming them in the toilet cubicle. Another 13 charges of a similar nature were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
In mitigation, Fang’s lawyer Teo Choo Kee said that since the incident, his client has lost his job as a financial advisor and his girlfriend. He has also suffered online abuse, Teo added.
One of the victims posted on Facebook on 26 December last year to recount how Fang was caught. Her post went viral after it described how Fang had apologised profusely and wished the victims “Merry Christmas” after he was caught.
The victim wrote, “He came out of the cubicle with us staring at him wide-eyed and immediately apologised saying ‘sorry sorry please give me a chance’.” Fang claimed that he had deleted the videos, the victim said. When she looked through Fang’s phone gallery while waiting for the police to arrive, she said she found more than 10 videos of girls relieving themselves.
Caught in the act by victim
On Christmas last year, Fang met a friend for dinner and drinks at a bar at NTUC Income Building. Fang then sent his friend home before returning to the building.
He was later filmed by a CCTV camera opening the door to the female toilet located at level one at around 11.52pm. Fang did not enter the toilet. Instead, he entered the male toilet.
A few minutes later, Fang left the male toilet and entered the female toilet. He went into an empty cubicle and locked the door.
When Fang heard someone entering the adjoining cubicle a while later, he switched on the recording function of his mobile phone. He slid his phone underneath the partition separating the two cubicles and recorded a woman relieving herself. The video was 44 seconds and captured the woman’s thighs and underwear.
Fang remained in the cubicle and recorded six other women until he left the toilet at 12.13am.
He returned to the female toilet at about 12.42am to repeat his actions and managed to capture three other women in their 20s – who were friends – relieving themselves. The video captured one woman’s face.
The third woman who used the cubicle noticed Fang’s mobile phone under the partition. She exclaimed in shock before dressing herself and telling the other two women of her discovery. Fang emerged from the cubicle a while later and was confronted by the third woman, who told one of her friends to call the police.
Fang tried to flee but was stopped near the level one lift lobby by a male friend of the three women. The police were alerted and officers who arrived on the scene seized Fang’s mobile phone.
“Hour of madness”
Deputy Public Prosecutor Theong Li Han said that Fang had shown some degree of premeditation as he had sent his friend home first, so that his friend would not notice his prolonged absence. There was a significant degree of intrusion as the private moments of the women were captured, the DPP added. The prosecution sought a minimum jail term of 12 weeks.
In mitigation, Teo said that Fang offended as he was “quite intoxicated” at the time of the offences. When Fang first opened the door of the female toilet, it was a mistake, according to Teo. “He is genuinely remorseful for the one hour of madness,” added the lawyer, who asked for nine weeks’ jail.
District Judge Adam Nakhoda noted that the potential for embarrassment was greater in the case compared with other upskirt cases as the victim’s face was seen. He pointed out that Fang’s attempt to flee was an aggravating factor. Fang was also in the toilet for an extended time, the judge noted.
For insulting the modesty of a woman he could have been jailed up to one year, or fined or both, on each count. For criminal trespass, he could have been jailed up to three months or fined $1,500.