Woman jailed for filming other women changing at gym

File photo of an iPhone: AFP

She would film other women in various states of undress in the female changing room of a gym in Suntec City Mall and then sell the footages for $0.10 or $0.20 per second through adult forum Sammyboy.

Heng Li Ying, 29, was on Tuesday (2 May) jailed 30 weeks in the State Courts. She was charged with three counts of intruding upon the privacy of her victims with the intent to insult their modesty by using her phone to record a video of them in states of undress. Two other similar charges and one charge under the Films Act were taken into consideration.

The court heard that Heng, a marketing executive, had recorded the videos for the purpose of selling them for personal profit on Sammyboy.

Heng first created an account on the adult forum with the username “gargar78” in early 2014 to advertise the videos, which depicted women in states of undress, particularly in changing facilities. She created and named a discussion thread “Changing room peektures” to sell her footages.

In order to attract potential buyers for her videos, Heng would offer complimentary videos along with their purchases. She would get the buyers to make bank transfers to her before making the videos available to them via download links.

Investigations showed that Heng managed to earn at least $1540.20 from the sales of her videos to more than 22 Sammyboy account holders.

Three of these videos – the subject of Heng’s charges – were recorded by her using her Apple iPhone 5S in Suntec City Mall’s True Fitness outlet.

“Extremely intrusive” videos

The court heard that on 19 April 2014, Heng recorded a video of a Caucasian female who had just exited the shower and was drying her body. Heng, who had entered the changing room earlier, used her iPhone to record a video of the victim putting on her underwear.

The video, which lasted 53 seconds, did not capture the victim’s face. Heng sold the video to at least two parties on Sammyboy.

The second incident occurred on 26 April 2014 and involved a middle-aged female. According to the prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Winston Man, Heng recorded the victim as she was drying her body.

Heng had even changed position several times “in order to maximise the quality of the video by capturing [the victim] in her most exposed state”. She managed to capture the victim’s private parts from the front, back and side.

The video, which lasted one minute and 46 seconds, also briefly captured the victim’s face and was sold to at least two Sammyboy users.

Barely 20 minutes after her act, Heng recorded a separate video of another woman who had just left the shower. Heng moved around in order to capture the facial features of her victim and managed to film her front, back and side.

This video, which lasted one minute and 48 seconds, also captured the victim in her undergarments for an extended period of time. It was sold to at least two Sammyboy users.

The matter came to light when the management of True Fitness was alerted to compromising videos of customers in their changing rooms being posted for sale and circulated online. The videos had created disquiet among customers, said the DPP.

True Fitness lodged a police report, and Heng was arrested on 7 May 2014.

DPP Man asked for at least 32 weeks’ jail for Heng, citing the “extremely intrusive” mode of offending where one victim’s face was visible for an long period of time. “[Heng] utterly disregarded the privacy and reputation of the victims for monetary gain,” said the prosecution.

Heng also increased the risk of videos becoming available to a wider audience on the internet by making them available to other users on Sammyboy, said DPP Man.

In mitigation, Heng’s lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said that Heng had only committed the offences due to her jobless status and family commitments. She didn’t have a long-term permanent job for seven years before she committed the offence, he said.

For each charge of insulting the modesty of a woman Heng could have been jailed for up to a year and/or fined.