Man arrested for allegedly taking upskirt shots

A 49-year-old man being held down by passers-by at Westgate after being spotted allegedly taking upskirt shots of a woman on an escalator at the neighbouring Jem mall.
A 49-year-old man being held down by passers-by at Westgate after being spotted allegedly taking upskirt shots of a woman on an escalator at the neighbouring Jem mall.ST PHOTO: ZHAKI ABDULLAH

Suspect stopped by public after being alerted by a navy officer who had spotted him

Carrying a rolled-up magazine, a man stood behind a woman in a blue dress on an upward moving escalator at Jem in Jurong East.

While it looked innocent at first glance, another man wearing a navy uniform saw that the man had hidden a mobile phone in the magazine and seemed to be taking upskirt shots of the woman.

He immediately shouted at the man on the escalator, telling him to stop what he was doing.

The suspected voyeur, who was wearing a blue shirt, tie and brown trousers, ran up the escalator and onto the linkway between Jem and Westgate. The navy man gave chase, calling to bystanders to stop the man.

The suspect was later caught at Westgate, where he was pinned down by the navy officer and two others.

His phone was taken away and bystanders were asked to alert the police. The incident occurred at around 1.15pm on Thursday.

Security officers kept a crowd of curious lunchtime shoppers away from the scene while waiting for the police to arrive.

At around 1.30pm, two police officers arrived and led the man away in handcuffs.

"I saw the navy guy chase him, so I helped to stop him," said executive Martin Yeo, 33.

The police said the suspect, 49, has been arrested in relation to the case and they had established that he had possession of obscene materials.

Investigations are still ongoing.

This was the latest reported case of upskirt filming. At least nine peoplemay have been convicted for the offence so far this year.

Those found guilty of insulting the modesty of a woman or attempting to do so can be jailed for up to a year, fined or both.

While many cases of "upskirting" are done to get "thrills", the act can also be associated with mental disorders, said Dr Thong Jiunn Yew, a psychiatrist of Nobel Psychological Wellness Clinic in Ang Mo Kio.

"For example, it may be part of a voyeuristic disorder where the offender frequently takes upskirt footage over a prolonged period of at least six months and derives intense sexual arousal from this," he said.

"The person may also be suffering from depression or anxiety disorders, and such behaviours help him cope with stress and feel better."

He said upskirt victims may also experience increased anxiety, and should consult a mental health professional should it persist for more than two weeks.

"In most of such cases, psychological treatment is enough, but some may need medication if mood symptoms are especially bad or persistent."

Psychiatrist Brian Yeo, who has his own practice, said his clinic usually sees two to three individuals who take upskirt videos a year.

"(The habit) most probably started by watching pornography online, but the stimulation soon becomes insufficient," said Dr Yeo.

"They soon have to associate such pictures with real images in their mind for higher sexual relief, and resort to 'upskirting'."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Man arrested for allegedly taking upskirt shots'. Print Edition | Subscribe