Two men jailed for upskirt pictures and videos to 'deter others'

SINGAPORE - When a 47-year-old engineer was caught holding his iPhone with its camera lens facing upwards under a woman's dress in Suntec City in November 2013, he at first denied that he had taken any upskirt photographs.

But police found 283 such images taken starting September that year.

Yesterday, the man, Sim Tiak Choon, was sentenced to eight weeks in jail after he pleaded guilty to three charges of insulting the modesty of a woman. Another eight charges were taken into consideration. In all, the charges involved 45 upskirt photographs.

Sim, a Malaysian who is a Singapore permanent resident, would walk behind women at shopping centres and take random upskirt photographs.

His lawyer, Mr Daniel Chia, yesterday said Sim has started volunteering and doing community activities with his wife. They have a son in primary school.

Sim, who is "a quiet and reticent man by nature", had been facing difficulties both at work and in his marriage around 2010, said Mr Chia.

At the time of the offences, Sim's state of mind was "dictated by mental impairment caused by stress-related depression", according to a medical report.

The psychiatrist who assessed Sim, Dr Lim Yun Chin, wrote in the report: "He does not possess the profile of a sex deviant and his behaviour leading to the alleged offence was unbecoming of him."

Sim, who has no previous convictions, has been "severely embarrassed by this incident", added Mr Chia.

But agreeing with the prosecution's call for a deterrent sentence, District Judge Low Wee Ping noted the "sheer number of images" found on Sim's phone.

"This offence continues unabated despite all the prosecutions... and all the sentences" meted out by the courts, he said.

"Hopefully this sentence will deter others from this quite despicable offence."

Sim is out on a $15,000 bail posted by his Singaporean wife, pending an appeal.

Yesterday, Judge Low also jailed a 27-year-old man for two weeks for a similar offence.

Soo Jian Min, a client service officer, pleaded guilty to taking two upskirt videos on his Sonia Experia phone inside the Daiso Store at Chinatown Point last October. Another similar charge was taken into consideration in sentencing.

Soo was also caught red-handed while putting his handphone underneath a woman's dress.

In mitigation, Soo's lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, said his client had resigned from the stock-broking firm where he had been working for over a year due to the case.

A medical report by Dr Lim stated that Soo did not have the profile of a sex deviant and that Soo's offence was "a one-off incident that is out of character for him".

"He has learnt a painful lesson from his action and I believe that there wouldn't be a repetition," the psychiatrist stated in the report.

Saying that his client, who has no previous convictions, "was not a pervert running around and doing this for years", Mr Joseph urged Judge Low to impose a fine or a jail term of up to one week.

But the judge, noting his earlier comments in Sim's case, said: "These offences seem to be going unabated (and are) prevalent ... for some reason the handphone has now become an instrument of crime using the camera."

For insulting the modesty of a woman by taking upskirt pictures and videos, the two men could have been jailed for up to a year and fined on each charge.