Man jailed for filming women in fitting rooms

Over nine months, a student took videos of women changing in Cotton On outlets islandwide.

Loh Wei Quan, 22, was jailed for 32 weeks yesterday after admitting to 16 of 50 charges. Only one was for possession of obscene films; 49 were for insulting modesty.

He was caught at the Bedok Mall outlet on Nov 15 last year, when a female customer noticed him filming in the fitting room and alerted a staff member. The store supervisor detained Loh as he was leaving, and asked for his mobile phone.

A 14-year-old girl, whose private parts had been captured on Loh's phone, informed the supervisor that Loh had filmed her in the fitting room. She was shocked and started crying.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said Loh was at the outlet at 5.14pm, and had already recorded four video clips of women changing in the shop. While he was in one of the fitting rooms, he enabled the video recording mode on his mobile phone and placed it through the gap of the fitting room partition and the floor. He removed his shoe, then propped up the phone against it, to achieve the optimal angle for recording the women in the adjacent fitting room.

The court heard that Loh had watched videos of women being secretly filmed while changing in fitting rooms on Tumblr, a microblogging platform and social networking website, before trying it out himself. He was curious as to what went on in the fitting room, and felt that it was a thrill filming women changing without being caught.

DPP Chua said Loh visited Cotton On branches to film people changing in the fitting rooms. He would delete the video clip if the person caught on video was a male.

Loh, who has been diagnosed with voyeurism and is seeking treatment, told police that each time he recorded the video clips, he would feel excited, as well as "a sense of accomplishment".

DPP Chua cited numerous aggravating factors in this case. He said there was a substantial degree of premeditation, and this was not a typical "upskirt'' type of offence.

Once recorded, Loh could revisit the videos by replaying them again and again, he said.

DPP Chua also highlighted that the videos were "extremely intrusive", and lasted one to five minutes. Some of the victims were teenage girls, and in one case, the victim appeared to be in her early teens.

Loh could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined for insulting modesty.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Man jailed for filming women in fitting rooms'. Print Edition | Subscribe