Two men sentenced to jail for taking upskirt shots of women

SINGAPORE - Armed with a watch that had a pinhole camera and digital video recording function, a 34-year-old delivery driver took 61 upskirt videos in what District Judge Adam Nakhoda described as a "perverse crime spree" involving multiple victims.

Hew See Xiang was finally caught red-handed by one of the victims' boyfriend.

The Malaysian national, who is married to a finance executive, was given 24 weeks' jail on 19 counts of insulting a woman's modesty on Monday (April 9), each involving different women. He began serving his sentence on the same day.

Another 39 similar charges were taken into consideration.

Hew's case is the latest in a slew of upskirt offences. In delivering his sentence, the district judge said that the heavy jail term was necessary. "There is an uptick in offences of this nature and as such, a strong message has to be sent," he added.

The district judge also noted the large number of victims and pointed out that the use of a watch with a pinhole camera and video function, as opposed to devices such as smartphones, suggest a level of premeditation aimed at "making detection harder".

Hew had purchased the watch online for $30 in December 2016 and began using it to take upskirt videos of women in shopping districts around February last year. He did so mostly by trailing behind these women on escalators. Some of these videos were taken in succession on the same day.

On March 11, 2017, Hew secretly filmed 13 women, 12 of whom were in ION Orchard. On the same day at around 6pm, he was at Shaw House in Orchard Road when he saw a woman and her boyfriend going up an escalator. He switched on the recording function of his watch and followed the woman, trailing her from the first to the fifth floor.

The woman's boyfriend saw Hew standing closely while meddling with his watch and suspected that Hew had taken upskirt videos of his girlfriend. He reported the incident to the police.

The watch was then seized and 61 upskirt videos of multiple women were recovered from it.

Hew's lawyer said Hew is remorseful. He is actively pursuing counselling services on his own accord, in a bid to prevent himself from re-offending.

In a similar case, 25-year-old Wong Wei Sheng, also a Malaysian national, was sentenced to three weeks' jail on one count of insulting a woman's modesty. He was caught using his iPhone 7 to take upskirt photographs of a woman in front of him on an escalator at Bedok MRT station in July last year.

For insulting a woman's modesty, Hew and Wong could have been sentenced to one year in jail or a fine or both.