Jailed for taking spycam video of maid

A software engineer, who used a spy camera to take a video of his domestic worker in the shower, was sentenced to six weeks in jail yesterday.

Jahja Salam, 50, a Singapore permanent resident, had pleaded guilty to intruding into the privacy of the 35-year-old Indonesian helper in his flat in Sengkang on Nov 15, 2014.

He had earlier bought a pen with a camera, intending to take a video of the maid showering. Some time before 8.45pm on Nov 15, he placed it inside the toilet and left for dinner.

The maid took a shower in the toilet, not realising that the camera was recording. She had noticed a pen on top of the mirror cabinet, but did not suspect anything amiss.

After the shower, she noticed a yellow light coming from the pen. She inspected it, realised what it was and kept the recording device.

Later, when Jahja Salam returned home and found the pen missing, he demanded that the maid return it to him. But she refused, claiming that she did not know what he was talking about. She lodged a police report the next day.

Lawyer Paul Yong said his client was diagnosed with voyeurism and did not have a chance to watch the video.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Chong said voyeurism is a clinical description of what is essentially a perverse behaviour, and did not deprive the accused of his self-control.

The accused, she said, had every intention to capture the victim's private moments, and it was fortuitous that he was discovered.

She said it was important for a deterrent sentence to be meted out because these offences were notoriously difficult to detect.

Jahja Salam, who is married with children, was allowed to defer sentence until Aug 15. His bail has been doubled to $10,000.

He could have been jailed for up to 11/2 years and fined for insulting the modesty of a woman.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Jailed for taking spycam video of maid'. Print Edition | Subscribe