Jail for doctor who hid camera in shoe, took more than 3,000 upskirt videos

SINGAPORE - A doctor who concealed a camera in his shoe and used it to record more than 3,000 upskirt videos was sentenced on Friday (Dec 11) to three years' jail.

Chu Ben Wee, 28, is one of the most prolific serial voyeurs to come before the courts, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana.

The prosecutor added that Chu "fully exploited the available technologies to conceal his offending behaviour", and recorded videos in various locations including hospitals and junior colleges.

They cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victims' identities.

The Singaporean was initially arrested on Jan 18, 2018, but reoffended while he was under police investigations in April last year.

Given bail that same month, he went back to his old ways in July last year.

On Friday, Chu, who appeared in court via video-link, pleaded guilty to four counts of insulting the women's modesty.

Thirteen other charges, mainly for similar offences, were considered during sentencing.

The court heard that Chu started recording such videos when he was a student at a popular junior college in 2009.

DPP Sruthi said: "In order to record the upskirt videos, the accused would purchase a pair of black sports shoes and cut a hole about 1.5cm wide near the front portion of his right shoe.

"He would then conceal a GoPro camera in the said shoe and align the camera lens to the hole before wearing the shoe, taking care to position his foot so as not to obstruct the video recording process."

After recording the videos, Chu would transfer them to a hard disk,
giving the videos titles relating to factors such as the victims' race, estimated age and type of underwear.

Whenever he felt the urge, he would watch the clips for his own sexual gratification as well.
He later targeted women in two hospitals in 2017 and 2018 but these offences went undetected.

Chu was finally caught when he targeted a woman in a shop at Square 2 shopping mall in Novena at around 7pm on Jan 18, 2018. He was standing close to her when she felt something touching her ankle.

The woman spotted Chu's hidden camera when she squatted down and pretended to look at items on a shelf. She confronted him and Chu was later arrested. When police searched his home the next day, they found hard disks which held nearly 3,000 upskirt videos.

Chu was released and while under police investigation, he targeted another woman in Plaza Singapura shopping centre on April 27 last year. She alerted the police and Chu was arrested soon after.

Three months later, while out on bail, he bought a T-shirt and pants commonly worn by male students of another junior college. He went there on July 31 last year and changed into the clothes so that he could blend in with the students.

Chu then went around the school and recorded upskirt videos. A female student noticed he was behaving in a suspicious manner and Chu was arrested yet again.

On Friday, DPP Sruthi said that Chu was diagnosed with paraphilic and major depressive disorders. Paraphilia refers to sexual interest in atypical situations or objects.

There was, however, no contributory link between his mental illnesses and the offences, added DPP Sruthi.

She urged Deputy Principal District Judge Seah Chi-Ling to sentence Chu to at least three years and a month's jail, stressing that his offences were premeditated.

She added: "Such systematic and premeditated violation of women's privacy at public places...inevitably causes considerable public disquiet and must be met with condign punishment."

Defence lawyer Luke Lee, however, pleaded for a shorter jail term and said that his client could benefit from treatment.

As of Friday afternoon, Chu's name is still on the list of registered healthcare professionals in Singapore.

For each count of insulting a woman's modesty, an offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined.

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