Ex-bank officer jailed 24 weeks for taking upskirt videos of strangers and colleague

SINGAPORE - There have been "too many" upskirt cases and it is important to keep sending a message that this sort of behaviour will be met with a sufficiently deterrent sentence, said a district judge, as he jailed a man 24 weeks on Thursday (Sept 28) for taking such videos of strangers and a colleague.

District Judge Kenneth Yap said there were aggravating factors in Teo Ding Luen's case that could not be ignored.

"This is a person who is a menace, if left unchecked. This is a menace especially in crowded Singapore where women have to take MRT and forced to stand cheek by jowl," he said.

He found it "disturbing" that despite sentences that have been given and media reports of these cases, these cases continue to come to court.

"The sanctity of women in public places should be protected... that really lies the nub," he added.

Teo, 40, was a senior bank officer when he committed 62 charges of insulting the modesty of mostly unknown females at places such as NTUC FairPrice supermarkets, Watsons pharmacies, and the MRT, between January 2015 and July 2016.

He admitted to 17 charges of insulting modesty on Thursday with 45 others taken into consideration in sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew Xin Ying said Teo boarded a train at Bishan MRT on July 25 last year (2016) and stood behind a 25-year-old woman standing beside the door at the other side of the carriage. She was facing outwards.

He held a black paper bag in his right hand containing a black Sony handheld action camera, which is a pinhole camera. Before the incident, he had cut a small hole in the paper bag and positioned the camera to film through the hole.

After turning on the recording function, he positioned the camera beneath the victim's skirt, pointing upwards to capture an upskirt video.

DPP Chew said a 29-year-old project manager saw what he did and detained him when the train stopped at Toa Payoh. Police were called.

The other 16 proceeded charges happened at Teo's workplace when he surreptitiously took the upskirt videos of a colleague for slightly over a year.

Teo admitted that he had been filming upskirt videos since 2009 and had taken hundreds of upskirt videos. He transferred the videos to a portable hard disk and transferred the ones he liked to his mobile phone.

Teo's lawyer Anand Nalachandran said the father of one took pro-active and positive steps to manage his voyeurism, a psychiatric condition discovered when he saw a psychiatrist after his arrest. An Institute of Mental Health report had also stated that Teo had voyeurism.

He said Teo knew the gravity of what he had done and was prepared for punishment.

DPP Chew had sought a sentence of at least 20 weeks' jail, saying there was an element of abuse of trust and that little weight should be given to his first-time offender status.

"There is a public interest in discouraging such criminal conduct, in particular, use of a recording device, and even the possibility of circulation,'' she said.

The maximum penalty for insulting the modesty of a woman is one year's jail and a fine per charge.