SMU student who filmed colleague in toilet during internship given short detention order

The court heard that Hoon Qi Tong began taking upskirt videos, including of an unidentified female colleague, some months before September 2017 after starting his internship at a company. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - While on an internship at a company, a Singapore Management University (SMU) student decided to take upskirt videos of his colleagues as he was curious to see whether he would derive pleasure from watching them.

After a while, Hoon Qi Tong, 23, lost interest in taking and viewing such videos, and turned to filming women in the toilet instead.

Despite two unsuccessful attempts at doing so, he persisted.

On his third attempt, he was spotted by the victim and arrested by the police .

On Thursday (Dec 19), Hoon, who has since graduated from SMU, was sentenced to a short detention order of 14 days.

Offenders given a short detention order are put behind bars for a short time, but will not have a criminal record after their release.

He must also perform 130 hours of community service within a year.

He pleaded guilty to one count of insulting a woman's modesty. Another count of criminal trespass was taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that Hoon began taking upskirt videos, including of an unidentified female colleague, some months before September 2017 after starting his internship at the company, which cannot be named due to a gag order.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying said that on Sept 13, 2017, Hoon spotted his 31-year-old female colleague leaving her desk for the toilet, and followed her.

Before she entered the toilet, the victim saw Hoon lingering outside the men's toilet, which is next to the women's toilet.

When she went into the women's toilet, Hoon waited outside until he was certain that she had entered the cubicle.

He then entered the cubicle next to the one she was using, and positioned his mobile phone over the partition to film her.

When the victim heard footsteps in the next cubicle, she looked up and saw a mobile phone and immediately dressed herself.

She knocked on the door of the cubicle, and confronted Hoon, who did not deny filming her, said DPP Tan.

She then told Hoon to delete the video, and he formatted his phone and erased all data in response.

Hoon's superiors and the police were alerted, and he was relieved of his duties at the company with immediate effect.

However, the upskirt and toilet videos filmed by Hoon could not be retrieved during forensic examination of his mobile phone.

In a letter addressed to the judge and submitted in court, the victim said that after the incident, she could no longer use the toilet without fear that she would be filmed again.

She would avoid using cubicles next to an occupied one and would always ask someone to accompany her into a public toilet for fear of being followed by a man.

"I feel guilty that I have to trouble those around me, and angry that I have to feel fear when I did nothing wrong. No one should have to feel this way," she wrote.

The Straits Times has contacted SMU for more information.

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