Serial upskirt voyeur who placed phone in shopping basket caught in the act at Uniqlo

·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
Man texting on smart phone while shopping for groceries
Man texting on smart phone while shopping for groceries. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A serial voyeur took a “staggering” 455 upskirt videos of at least 413 unidentified women and 1 identified woman at shopping malls and stores islandwide, during a 14-month period between 2019 and 2020.

Wong Kwong Yan, 37, then uploaded some of the videos he took, which included the faces of his targets, to a porn website. He said he felt “excited” and “happy” when he uploaded “good videos” onto the website.

Ultimately, the Malaysian was caught by one of his victims when he placed his phone in a shopping basket to illicitly film customers in Uniqlo on 13 January 2020.

Wong was jailed for a year and a month on Wednesday (24 November) upon pleading guilty to one amalgamated charge of insulting a woman’s modesty involving 390 upskirt videos of 358 unknown victims. 

The financial analyst also pleaded guilty to one count of voyeurism, involving the customer who caught him at Uniqlo.

Another three charges, involving possessing and circulating obscene films and another count of voyeurism, were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Caught in the act

On 13 January last year after work, Wong travelled to VivoCity Shopping Mall, intending to record upskirt videos of women who appeared younger than 50 and were dressed in skirts or dresses.

At about 8.10pm, Wong went to the Uniqlo outlet at Vivocity and activated the video recording function on his smartphone before placing it in his shopping basket. Using this method, Wong filmed upskirt videos of at least two to three customers by swinging his shopping basket under their clothes.

He stood close to one of his victims, a 31-year-old woman, for the same purpose. As the victim bent down to look for clothing, she felt that Wong was standing too close to her. Uncomfortable, she turned around to see Wong holding a shopping basket that contained only his phone.  

She confronted Wong but the latter “vehemently denied” taking videos of her, said the prosecution. The victim demanded to inspect the Wong’s phone but Wong refused to hand it over.

The victim then used her own phone to take a photograph of Wong’s face. When Wong fled, the victim informed the Uniqlo store manager, who called the police at her insistence.

Closed-circuit television cameras at the store had captured Wong’s actions, and police officers caught up with him at his residence on 5 February this year, after establishing his identity through the footage. They seized his smartphone, laptop and a portable hard drive.

Hundreds of videos discovered

A total of 494 voyeuristic videos and six obscene films were found in his hard drive. At least 285 videos had clear images of his victims’ faces, with two videos apparently of women below 18 years old.

Investigations showed that Wong had began recording such videos from 2015 in Malaysia and Singapore.

He would travel to a few locations to commit his offences, such as VivoCity, a large-scale furniture store in Queenstown, and shopping malls along Orchard Road. He chose some of his locations as they were near his residence.

His videos lasted 20 to 30 seconds. Wong would put his phone in a shopping basket or bag and place it beneath the victims' skirts. Wong would also repeatedly attempt to capture their faces on camera. 

“The accused looked for victims who were either standing, slouching, or bending down to pick items. (He) would take continuous upskirt videos of at least three to five females per occasion,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Ong, adding that Wong found "thrill and excitement" from filming such videos. 

Meanwhile, Wong uploaded his videos and about 100 edited pictures of the upskirt videos to a porn website upon other site members’ requests.  

Wong’s lawyer asked for a jail sentence of nine months or not exceeding a year, while DPP Ong sought at least a year and eight weeks’ jail.

Public disquiet

DPP Ong said that “unimaginable shame and distress” to the victims may have been caused if the films were disseminated. Furthermore, after being caught at Uniqlo on 13 January last year, Wong continued recording the videos until 3 February last year.

Wong’s lawyer submitted an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report which stated that Wong had suffered from adjustment disorder with depressed mood around the time of the offences, and presently still has mild depression. Wong has since voluntarily undergone 18 months of treatment at IMH.

An IMH psychiatrist stated that Wong was remorseful, and concluded that the overall risk of reoffending was low provided that Wong adhered to his treatment. His employer had also stood bail on his behalf and assured him of his continued employment at the company.

In a letter submitted to court, Wong apologised for his actions, adding that he let his loved ones down and felt “extremely remorseful” and “ashamed”.

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