Man jailed and fined for stalking female students outside schools over a few years

Singapore's State Courts building. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Singapore's State Courts building. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — Under the guise of conducting “educational surveys”, a former insurance agent approached female students outside various secondary schools and junior colleges to get their names, contact numbers and home addresses.

Fong Poh Kuen would also tail some of these students and take photos of them, unbeknownst to the victims.

The 43-year-old even monitored a student from the time she was in Secondary 1 until she went to junior college.

He also took upskirt photos of an unknown female at a bus stop.

At the State Courts on Tuesday (1 October), Fong was jailed for three months and fined $8,000.

He pleaded guilty to six charges - four counts of using threatening behaviour likely to cause alarm, one count of engaging in a course of conduct likely to cause harassment and one count of insulting the modesty of a woman.

Fong’s jail term was backdated to the date of his remand on 8 August.

Survey ruse

Fong used a survey form he created as a ruse to approach teenage students he was attracted to, the court heard.

“After the girls filled up the survey forms, the accused would collate the information that he had collected from the survey forms using an excel spreadsheet which he saved inside his laptop,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran.

“On a number of occasions, he would follow these girls either before or after the girls had filled up survey forms and take a number of photographs of them. The girls did not know that the accused was taking photographs of them,” added the prosecutor.

On 20 January 2017, at about 1.45pm, Fong felt attracted to a 16-year-old student and wanted to take photos of her. He followed the victim for about eight minutes and took 18 photos of her with his mobile phone. Afterwards, he downloaded the photos into his laptop.

Monitored victim for years

The next month, on 13 February, Fong tailed a 17-year-old junior college student for about 20 minutes until she reached an MRT station, taking 22 photos of the victim along the way.

He had first noticed the victim when she was in Secondary 1, the court heard, and continued to monitor her from then on. He had tried to conduct a survey with her when she was in Secondary 3, but was unable to do so.

Fong downloaded the 22 photos he took of the victim into his laptop.

Three days later, he followed the victim again and asked her to fill up a survey form. She complied and he was able to get her personal details.

About 20 minutes later, Fong sent a text message to the victim, which said, “Happy Good Friday”. The victim didn’t reply to the message.

Followed victim onto bus

Later the same month, on 24 February, Fong followed a 16-year-old student whom he felt attracted to. After she filled up his survey form, he asked her about what she wanted to study in university.

He then tailed her for about 15 to 20 minutes as she made her way home, even following her on board a bus.

Fong took 58 photos of the victim with his phone and later downloaded them into his laptop.

The court heard that the victim now no longer finds it safe to return home alone from school and her father accompanies her home.

The next month, on 9 March, Fong also tailed a 13-year-old student whom he felt attracted to. He followed her for about five minutes and took 12 photos of her without her knowledge. He downloaded the photos into his laptop.

Recorded video of students

On the morning of 13 October 2017, a student who was walking near an MRT station saw Fong holding a mobile phone at his chest level and recording a video of her schoolmates walking past him. She told a male teacher about the matter.

The teacher came out of the school to look for Fong but the perpetrator had left the area.

Later that day, at about 4pm, Fong was seen recording students again. The teacher called the police to say that there was a suspicious man who had been taking photos of his students.

Took upskirt photos at bus stop

On 6 February 2017, at about 8.50am, Fong saw an unknown female at a bus stop along Marine Parade Road. “The accused felt that (the victim) was wearing an inappropriate skirt as he thought it would promote the taking of ‘upskirt’ photographs, said DPP Thiagesh.

He used his mobile phone to take two such photos of the victim. “According to the accused, he intended to highlight these photographs to an organisation called ‘TARIFF’ which was an association for fashion designers,” added the prosecutor.

The maximum penalty for using threatening behaviour likely to cause alarm is a fine of up to $5,000. For engaging in a course of conduct likely to cause harassment, Fong could have been jailed for up to one year and fined up to $5,000.

The maximum punishment for insulting the modesty of a woman is up to one year in jail along with a fine.

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