Man gets 11 months' jail over obscene videos taken of unsuspecting women in public places and shared online

SINGAPORE - A fund accountant was sentenced to 11 months' jail on Tuesday (March 20) after filming a female friend in his home toilet without her knowledge and having in his possession, for the purpose of distribution, 663 obscene films of other unsuspecting women.

Shaun Lee, 29, was the fourth man to be dealt with in court in a case involving online groups that shared voyeuristic videos taken with hidden cameras in places such as public toilets and changing rooms.

Three others, customer service officer Ong Yi Jie, 27, former sales engineer Joel Chew Weichen, also 27, and former security guard Ali V. P. Mohamed, 46, have been jailed for between six months and three years.

The case involving a fifth man, digital marketing specialist Clarence Tang Jia Ming, 25, is pending.

All five men were members of Sammyboy Forum - a predominantly sex-themed online site that contained hundreds of threads sharing obscene material.

On Feb 22, Lee pleaded guilty to being in possession of the 663 obscene films. He also admitted to one count each of insulting a woman's modesty and being part of a conspiracy to help Ong commit a similar offence.

He first met Ong in 2013 through MSN Messenger and they used the instant messaging platform to exchange hidden camera films.

The following year, Lee transferred about $100 to Ong so that the customer service officer could buy hidden cameras.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Li Yihong said: "(Ong) used the money received from the accused to purchase a hidden camera disguised as a wall hook. That camera was then used to secretly film videos of multiple women relieving themselves in toilets."

Some time between April and June 2016, Lee placed a similar hidden camera in the bathroom of his home before inviting some women, who were his friends, to come over for a gathering. One of them used the toilet and the device recorded her relieving herself.

Later that year, Ali created SG Horizon Club, a Google group, for members to share sex-themed films, including obscene hidden-camera videos.

The court heard that if members did not share at least one obscene video a week, they were kicked out of the group. Chew and Lee were members of the SG Horizon Club while Ong and Tang were not.

On Nov 11, 2016, the Ministry of Education reported to the police that it had received information on obscene videos circulating on the Internet of school girls in toilets or changing rooms taken with hidden cameras. The clips were found on platforms such as Google groups and Sammyboy Forum.

Police raided Lee's home 18 days later and seized items such as hard drives containing the 663 obscene films.

DPP Li said: "The accused actively shared his collection with other online users by uploading these films onto file-sharing websites and thereafter posting links to these uploaded files on online groups such as Sammyboy Forum and Horizon. He also exchanged videos directly with users via services like Skype.

"As a member of Horizon, the accused was also subject to the rule that all members had to share one video every week, or risk losing their membership to the group. The accused thus shared videos on Horizon so as to maintain his membership."