Employer jailed for recording maid in toilet using miniature video camera

Paul Kwan admitted to two charges of insulting the modesty of an Indonesian helper. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A man mounted a miniature video camera he had bought a week earlier on the kitchen toilet wall and hid it behind a window scraper on the floor to film his domestic worker, a court heard.

Paul Kwan, 52, a Canadian citizen, admitted on Monday (May 15) to two charges of insulting the modesty of the 28-year-old Indonesian helper at a condominium in Newton area on July 30 and 31 last year. He was jailed for 12 weeks.

Kwan, who is here on an employment pass, had bought the recording device in Canada on July 23.

He brought the recording device to Singapore and decided to use it to film the victim in the kitchen toilet, which was used only by her.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew Xin Ying said that on three occasions - July 28, 29 and Aug 1 - Kwan placed the camera on the bottom of a three-tiered shelf in the kitchen toilet beside the toilet bowl. He used adhesive blu-tack to mount the camera on the wall, then hid it behind a window scraper which was on the floor.

He fitted the camera lens into a hole in the scraper and the camera was directed towards the shower stall in the toilet.

Each time the camera was placed in the toilet, he left it in recording mode. After the victim had gone to bed, he would retrieve the footage from the camera and downloaded it into his hard disk.

Only he and the maid were at home from July 25 to Aug 1. His son was due to return from an overseas trip on Aug 2.

DPP Chew said Kwan managed to capture the victim using the toilet on July 30; and of her showering the next day.

On Aug 1, the victim was cleaning the kitchen toilet when she spotted the camera. She removed it, packed her belongings and headed straight to the maid agent who then called the police.

DPP Chew sought at least 12 weeks per charge, saying there was a high degree of planning and premeditation. She said there was a grave intrusion of privacy of the domestic worker, who was a vulnerable victim. A miniature recording device was used, and Kwan had abused his position of trust as the victim's employer.

Kwan's lawyer Amarjit Singh said his client was deeply remorseful and regretted his actions. He vows that this would be his last brush with the law.

He said as a result of the incident, his client had lost his position in the financial sector. Kwan is now unemployed.

District Judge Samuel Chua said domestic workers are entitled to work in a safe environment without the fear of having their privacy intruded upon by members of the household they are working in.

Kwan could have been jailed for up to 18 months and/or fined for each count of insulting one's modesty.

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