Ex-bank exec fights upskirt video charge

Yuen Kum Fai, 44, claims he was filming women in different clothes in preparation for a shopping trip with a friend.
Yuen Kum Fai, 44, claims he was filming women in different clothes in preparation for a shopping trip with a friend.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A former senior bank executive accused of taking an upskirt video on an escalator told a court yesterday that he was filming women in different clothes in preparation for a shopping trip with a friend.

Yuen Kum Fai, 44, was global head of personal banking and preferred banking at Standard Chartered Bank when he allegedly took a video of the woman in front of him with his mobile phone at Marina Bay Link Mall.

They had been on an escalator in Marina Boulevard at about 9.20am on Dec 9, 2013.

A 41-year-old witness told the court that he was on his way to work at a bank when he saw Yuen five to six steps ahead of him on the escalator.

Yuen, he said, was holding his iPad and folder in his right hand and took out his mobile phone from his left trouser pocket, then held it so it faced upwards.

The 27-year-old woman standing two steps in front of Yuen happened to be the witness' colleague.

"I felt curious. I observed the accused," the witness said through a Mandarin interpreter.

When they reached the upper end of the escalator, Yuen put his leg up on the step and tilted his mobile phone.

The witness, who had been watching Yuen the whole time, told two security officers that Yuen may have taken an upskirt video.

When a security officer called out to him, Yuen kept on walking until he reached the escalator going towards StanChart.

After he was stopped, Yuen handed his phone to the security officer, who found a video recording.

"The accused panicked, shivered," the witness said.

Yuen claimed he took the video accidentally and told the witness repeatedly that he wanted to apologise to the victim, the witness added.

He rejected Yuen's request to talk to him in private.

Earlier, defence counsel Amarjit Singh Sidhu, together with Mr Javern Sim, had challenged the admissibility of his client's statement to the police.

The statement, recorded by the investigation officer the same day, was ruled admissible after a trial-within-a-trial.

Yuen had admitted to taking the upskirt video of the victim in the statement.

He claimed it was part of his preparation for a shopping trip to Malaysia with a friend.

The hearing was adjourned to dates to be fixed.

If convicted, he could be jailed for up to one year and/or fined. Two other similar charges were stood down.

elena@sph.com.sg