Man throws phone into lake after getting caught taking upskirt videos but is still jailed

Gabriel Tan Choon Wei admitted that he had started taking upskirt photos of women from mid or late 2014.
Gabriel Tan Choon Wei admitted that he had started taking upskirt photos of women from mid or late 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An assistant manager who had been taking upskirt videos of women at an MRT station escalator for a month threw his cellphone into a lake on the day he was caught.

In all, Neo Pei Tee, 37, committed 10 insulting of modesty offences at the Braddell MRT exit C escalator in May 2016, between 7.30am and 8am. By discarding his mobile phone, he had also committed the offence of causing evidence of his crime to disappear.

On Friday (Dec 15), the former Singapore Press Holdings employee was jailed for four weeks after he pleaded guilty to one count of intruding into the privacy of a 28-year-old woman, and causing evidence to disappear with the intention of escaping legal punishment.

Investigation showed that at 8.05am on May 31 last year, Neo was on his way to work after alighting from the train when he saw the victim walk past him. He followed her up the escalator because she looked like "his type", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao.

After switching on his phone's video recording mode, he positioned it under her skirt to take an upskirt video.

The victim was unaware of his actions until she heard an unknown elderly woman calling out "What are you doing?".

She turned around and saw Neo standing directly behind her with his phone in "camera" mode.

After the victim was told of what Neo had done, the two women grabbed hold of him. But once they got to the top of the escalator, he broke free and fled. The victim ran after him but lost sight of Neo.

That evening, he threw his phone into the Chinese Garden lake.

His lawyer T. M. Sinnadurai said in his mitigation plea that his client, now unemployed, is truly remorseful and deeply regrets his actions.

Unable to cope with depression and stress, Neo sought treatment at Raffles Hospital. The psychiatrist felt that Neo's actions appeared impulsive against a background of cumulative stress at work that overwhelmed him.

Neo could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined for insulting the modesty of a woman. For causing evidence to disappear, the maximum penalty is 10 years' jail and a fine.