Man infatuated with colleague unlawfully accessed her Telegram account, tried to take her upskirt pictures

SINGAPORE - Infatuated with his colleague, a man took her unattended mobile phone and synced her account on messaging platform Telegram to his own phone without her knowledge.

He then read the woman's conversations and took screenshots. He also downloaded about 20 of her photographs to his device.

Separately, the man tried to snap her upskirt pictures with his mobile phone when they were having lunch with other colleagues.

The 33-year-old offender, who cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the woman's identity, was on Tuesday (July 27) sentenced to three weeks' jail.

He had pleaded guilty to an offence under the Computer Misuse Act and attempting to insult the 30-year-old woman's modesty.

On Tuesday, District Judge Marvin Bay said: "There is certainly a need to deter such gross intrusions and offences which blend both the virtual - that is hacking into social media accounts - and the actual, in the manner of further insults into the victim's privacy in the real-life setting."

The man has known his colleague since 2015. The following year, he told the woman that he had developed feelings for her but she rejected his advances.

He did not pursue her after that but his feelings re-ignited when she moved to his department in 2018.

In 2019, the pair and their colleagues went on a work trip to Thailand where he snapped several pictures of her alone.

The man later uploaded them onto Facebook and tagged the woman who decided to hide his post so that the pictures would not appear on her profile page.

He then decided to gain access to her mobile phone as he wanted to find out why she had done so.

The pair were at work at around 11am on July 18, 2019, when the woman stepped away from her desk and left her mobile phone unattended.

The man took the device and unlocked it after he correctly guessed her birth date as its password.

He synced her Telegram account to his phone and read her conversations. He then realised that the woman had found his earlier Facebook post to be "creepy".

Later that day, she noticed differences in the contact names on her Telegram chat pages. This was because the application had been synced to the man's phone without her knowledge.

She did not take any further action then as she was unsure about what had transpired.

On Aug 13, 2019, the pair were having lunch with their colleagues in a Bukit Timah Shopping Centre restaurant when the man tried to use his mobile phone to snap her upskirt pictures.

The group was about to leave the eatery when a fellow diner approached one of their lunch mates, took her aside and told her about the man's actions.

The diner also recorded a video which was forwarded to her.

The lunch mate alerted the others and they told their supervisor about the incident. The lunch mate also lodged a police report later that day.

The victim then suspected that the man could have accessed her Telegram account earlier that year and she alerted the police on Oct 5, 2019.