Jailed for taking upskirt videos of his friends

Ang was given 36 weeks' jail yesterday. He is appealing against his sentence and is currently out on bail.
Ang was given 36 weeks' jail yesterday. He is appealing against his sentence and is currently out on bail. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Man amassed more than 120 photos and clips of seven women over nearly four years

For nearly four years, a 29-year-old accountant took more than 120 upskirt photos and videos of seven women he liked, but did not think he had a chance with.

They were his friends, acquaintances and colleagues, aged 23 to 30, who had cameras secretly pointed up their skirts at places such as the church, school, foodcourts, shopping malls and even the workplace.

He organised the 122 videos and four photos on a portable hard disk, arranging them in folders according to the names of his unsuspecting victims.

But he was caught red-handed when he tried to take an upskirt video of a 23-year-old stranger going up an escalator at an MRT station in December 2013.

Yesterday, Joshua Ang Zhu Ci was given 36 weeks' jail, having pleaded guilty last October to 15 charges of insulting the modesty of a woman. Another 112 counts of the same were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Ang, who sought probation, is appealing against his sentence and is out on bail of $10,000.

The first offence he committed was in July 2010. A video of the same victim was found, dated four years later, to the day. All told, he filmed her 45 times.

Ang would use anniversaries, such as birthdays, to film an unsuspecting victim. On one occasion, in December 2012, he met a 27-year-old friend at the Starbucks outlet at Wisma Atria, bearing a birthday gift in a paper bag.

Ang placed a mobile device in the bag with its lens facing up and the camera recording, and approached his friend from behind. He then carefully positioned the bag between her legs and under her skirt.

He would film women sitting across the table from him in the office or at the foodcourts, while they shared a meal.

He also filmed them while they were going up the stairs, or getting into a lift with him.

In passing the sentence, District Judge Luke Tan said a deterrent sentence was needed as Ang had abused the trust of his friends, premeditating and planning the offences in detail.

There were multiple victims he had targeted repeatedly in various places where they would have least expected to be victims of crime. And he was able to get close to them because he knew them, the judge noted.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Low Chun Yee had asked for Ang to be jailed 12 weeks on charge, with four of the sentences to run consecutively, for a total of 48 weeks' jail.

But defence lawyer Quek Mong Hua argued that Ang had completed 12 sessions of psychiatric therapy, as well as 16 sessions of psychological counselling, to address his mental illness - depression, with obsessive compulsive features.

"He is practically a rehabilitated person and is unlikely to reoffend," Mr Quek said, adding that Ang, who has been unemployed for some time, also has strong support from his parents, siblings and the church.

Ang has a history of failed relationships and the victims he picked were "girls that he liked a lot, but (had) no courage to approach", the lawyer said.

Urging the judge to look at the boyish Ang in court, Mr Quek said: "He is very much like a boy in his personality."

But DPP Low said Ang had sought psychiatric treatment only because he had been arrested.

That he fancied his victims, but had no courage, was also not a mitigating factor, the DPP said.

The maximum penalty for insulting the modesty of a woman, or attempting to do so, is one year's jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2016, with the headline 'Jailed for taking upskirt videos of his friends'. Print Edition | Subscribe