Jailed, fined for filming women in church toilet

Yeo was sentenced to 20 months' jail and fined $2,000. He had filmed 66 women at his church, one of its offices and an unknown site.
Yeo was sentenced to 20 months' jail and fined $2,000. He had filmed 66 women at his church, one of its offices and an unknown site.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Churchgoer tried to sell videos of female worshippers online when he needed cash

A churchgoer with a fetish for watching women go to the toilet set up a hidden camera in a restroom to film female worshippers - then tried to sell the videos online when he was short of cash.

Business development executive Kenneth Yeo Jia Chuan, 29, filmed 66 women in total in May and June 2011, not only at his Bukit Timah church but also at one of its offices and at an unknown location.

Yeo - who had attended the church since he was young and even worked there as a technician - would hide a pinhole camera underneath sinks and air fresheners when he went to Sunday services.

When he faced financial difficulties in June 2012, he put two video clips he had prepared on a file-sharing website, where he advertised them for sale at $50 to $70 each.

But before he could do so, a victim in one of the videos was alerted to it and made a police report.

A letter from his psychiatrist said he had "a very strong urge to give in to his fetish for peeping or looking at secret images of women in the toilet".

Yeo was sentenced to 20 months' jail and fined $2,000 yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to eight charges of insulting a woman's modesty, and a count each of sale of an obscene object and possession of a pornographic film. He admitted to 58 similar charges, which were considered during sentencing.

The court heard that Yeo was introduced to pinhole cameras by a friend in 2011 and began experimenting with them at social gatherings. He found they could "blend into the environment".

In May 2011, he installed a camera in his church's toilet for those with disabilities and later transferred the video to his laptop - beginning his two-month campaign.

By June 2012, Yeo's business in game-card trading was failing and he owed $8,000 to investors and banks. He decided to sell his voyeuristic videos, editing the clips and cropping the films into two- to three-minute-long files, with each video featuring one victim.

Yeo got in touch with a potential buyer but was arrested before the transaction could be completed.

Police later found two unrelated pornographic videos on his laptop.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Rajiv Rai asked for at least 20 months' jail, noting that Yeo was a "persistent offender" who had "committed 68 distinct offences".

Yeo's lawyers, Mr Mervyn Tan and Ms Vanessa Tan, said their client was "truly very sorry for what he has done, and has made positive efforts to change himself".

Yeo sought psychiatric help and is taking medication. A letter from his psychiatrist said he had "a very strong urge to give in to his fetish for peeping or looking at secret images of women in the toilet". He also visited voyeuristic websites "due to his loneliness and lack of girlfriends".

A letter from a church pastor said Yeo had worked as a technician and performed his duties well, even working after hours.

In passing sentence, District Judge John Ng noted that Yeo had strong support from family and friends. But the judge agreed with the need for a deterrent sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline 'Jailed, fined for filming women in church toilet'. Print Edition | Subscribe