MHA officer jailed for stalking girlfriend

Goh, 38, was jailed for six months. He has been suspended from duty since last August and faces disciplinary proceedings. The father of three is the second man here to be convicted of unlawful stalking.
Goh, 38, was jailed for six months. He has been suspended from duty since last August and faces disciplinary proceedings. The father of three is the second man here to be convicted of unlawful stalking. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Civil servant resentful of her relationship with others sent her naked pictures to her colleagues

A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officer had been going through a rocky spell with his girlfriend when he learnt that she was planning to go on holiday to Malaysia with a male colleague.

Upset and resentful, 38-year-old Adrian Goh Guan Kiong decided to humiliate the civil servant by sending four naked pictures he had taken of her to her colleagues in a WhatsApp group, along with lewd messages.

Yesterday, the father of three became the second man to be convicted of unlawful stalking, receiving a six-month jail sentence.

The same punishment was meted out earlier this month to 26-year-old Lai Zhi Heng, a jobless man who had harassed a 19-year-old student for three years.

Goh admitted engaging in acts associated with stalking that harassed the 25-year-old woman - who cannot be named due to a gag order - between July 31 and Aug 3 last year.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said Goh came to know the woman in late 2011 during her university holidays and they entered into a relationship shortly after. While they were together, he took nude pictures of her with her consent and promised not to circulate them.

However, their relationship was strained and rocky at times. He felt that he was spending too much money on her and was insecure that she had a close relationship with several male colleagues. They quarrelled several times as a result.

On learning that she was travelling to Malaysia with her male colleague, he felt betrayed. During a visit to Causeway Point mall on July 31 last year, he went to a toilet with her mobile phone she had given him in trust, then used it to send the four photos to her WhatsApp group, along with lewd messages.

After ignoring several incoming calls, he sent another message to the group saying: "Oops... wrong chat group Ps". He then returned the phone to her. When she found out about her naked pictures and the messages, she questioned him but he denied sending them.

On Aug 3, still feeling resentful, Goh created a fake e-mail account and sent a message to her boss, lying that she and her colleague had slept together. APP Thiagesh said: "The e-mail was sent with the intention of humiliating the victim and causing her to feel harassed."

Goh had also hoped the e-mail would "stymie'' the careers of his girlfriend and her male colleague. The same day, he posted a letter to her father, falsely claiming it had come to the notice of the family's church that his daughter was engaging in "premarital sex" with two men. The victim made a police report on Aug 3.

APP Thiagesh told District Judge Ow Yong Tuck Leong that Goh's conduct was calculated, vicious and persistent, designed to harass, humiliate and impugn the reputation of the victim who had to take leave from work. The woman suffered "countless sleepless nights" and "feared entering a new romantic relationship".

Goh has been suspended from duty since last August and faces disciplinary proceedings.

District Judge Ow Yong agreed with the prosecution that a deterrent sentence should be imposed. He said Goh's circulation of the victim's naked photos had "caused much humiliation" to her, adding: "The effect is long-lasting."

A spokesman for the MHA said: "Officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs are expected to uphold high standards of discipline and integrity, and abide by the law."

The maximum penalty for unlawful stalking is a $5,000 fine and 12 months' jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2016, with the headline 'MHA officer jailed for stalking girlfriend'. Print Edition | Subscribe