Man who took obscene videos and photos of relatives, subordinates over 10-year period jailed

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
The 58-year-old would use his position as the family photographer to take the obscene pictures of his relatives with his digital camera.  (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

For 10 years, he filmed under the skirts and and down the blouses of 11 women – four of whom were his sisters-in-law.

The 58-year-old would use his position as the family photographer to take the obscene photos with his digital camera. While working as a senior executive at a transportation company, he would also take photos of his female subordinates during work meetings.

On Thursday, the man – who cannot be named to protect his victims’ identities – was sentenced to 12 months’ jail. Facing 108 charges, he pleaded guilty to 28 counts of insulting a woman’s modesty and one count of destroying evidence.

The remaining charges, which included possessing obscene and uncensored films, were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Accused used spy cameras

According to court documents, the man’s offences took place between 2007 and 2016. To obtain the illicit images of his relatives and colleagues, he used his mobile phone as well as spy cameras in the shape of a thumb drive and a pen.

During family outings and overseas trips, the man would take on the role of family photographer. When he spotted female family members in compromising positions, the man would angle his digital camera to take a snapshot.

He would also take videos while zooming in on his female relatives’ body parts. On some occasions, he would also film under their skirts.

The man also preyed on four female subordinates during work meetings and overseas work trips. Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lau pointed out that the “frequency of the work meetings” enabled the man to “surreptitiously obtain compromising images of them when seated”.

After shooting the images, the man would transfer them onto two password-protected mobile applications. He would also transfer the images to his desktop computer, which was also password protected.

The man also created separate folders on his computer to categorise the material, in order to “facilitate his repeated viewing of the incriminating material for his sexual pleasure”, said DPP Lau.

“Apart from categorising these materials, the man also went so far as to edit some of the videos by slowing down the speed of playing so that he could scrutinise the contents of the video with greater clarity and zoom into the specific parts of the videos where the victims’ private parts (albeit not fully exposed) were captured, thereby heightening his sexual arousal from viewing them,” she added.

The man also had a fetish for photoshopping his victims’ head onto the head of pornographic models, as viewing these images aroused him, said the prosecution.

Accused a ‘respected mentor’

One of the man’s affected subordinates suspected what he was doing but had not dared to act as the man well regarded.

The man was taken as a “respected mentor” due to his capability and experience in the industry. She was worried about possible repercussions as the man was her boss.

However, the man’s repeated acts soon came to the attention of other employees in the company.

One staff member first picked up on the man’s conduct on 20 September 2016 when he saw the man holding his mobile phone in an awkward manner. The employee saw that the phone was in video recording mode and pointed towards a female colleague.

Another colleague also witnessed the man using a small device that emitted clicking noises from under the table.

The two employees decided to monitor the man and reported the offences to the company’s head of human resources a week later, when they witnessed the man repeating his actions. A third employee who had witnessed the man’s action also reported what he had seen.

The HR head escalated the matter to the company’s chief executive officer while the three witnesses lodged a police report on 4 October 2016.

Disposed of potential evidence

That same day, the man provided his first statement to the police. The following day, he disposed of two spy cameras instead of surrendering them to the authorities.

He later admitted to disposing of the incriminating evidence as he was overwhelmed by the enormity of the offences and their potential consequences.

Roger Yek, the man’s lawyer, said that his client has since abstained from voyeuristic behaviour and has sought treatment at the Institute of Mental Health.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim noted that, in respect of his female relatives, the man had committed the offence in the residences where the women “should expect nothing of the sort to happen to them”.

“The breach of trust here is significant and serious. You should be protecting them,” she told the man.

The judge added that the man had taken advantage of his colleagues as well.

For insulting the modesty of a woman, the man could have been jailed up to one year, fined, or both, for each count. For destroying evidence, the man could have been jailed up to two years, fined, or both.

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