Man convicted of having 801 obscene films for distribution given maximum sentence

SINGAPORE - A judge in Singapore has condemned the actions of a former security guard who had hundreds of secretly filmed videos of women and schoolgirls, and created a group that shared such videos on the Internet.

Ali V. P. Mohamed, 46, was convicted of being in possession of 801 obscene films for the purpose of distribution.

Before sentencing him, District Judge Kessler Soh said: "You have not disputed you were in possession of these films and they were obscene...The court condemns what you had done."

On Wednesday (Jan 31), Ali was given the maximum sentence of two years' jail and a fine of $80,000 after a two-day trial which started on Monday.

Ali had created SG Horizon Club, a Google group, in late 2016 for members to share sex-themed films including obscene hidden-camera videos. The club had some 200 members.

The court heard that if members did not share at least one obscene video a week, they were kicked out of the group.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Houston Johannus called it the "worst case of its kind" and said Ali was the mastermind.

"The prospect of these explicit films of their faces and genitalia being viewed across the Web, with no reasonable expectation that they can ever be removed completely from circulation, is a source of unending distress, humiliation and trauma for the victims.

"Such systematic and large-scale violation of the privacy of women in public toilets and changing rooms also causes considerable public disquiet and concern," said DPP Johannus.

Ali is the second person in the case to be dealt with in court.

The first was former sales engineer Joel Chew Weichen, 27, who was jailed for six months in October last year after pleading guilty to having 280 obscene films for distribution in his Whampoa Drive home.

The cases involving three other men - fund accountant Shaun Lee, 28; digital marketing specialist Clarence Tang Jia Ming, 25; and customer service officer Ong Yi Jie, alias Kenneth, 27 - are still pending.

The offences came to light after a police report was made in November 2016 that films of schoolgirls relieving themselves or trying on clothes in changing rooms - along with other obscene films - were being circulated on an online discussion site known as Sammyboy Forum.

The forum is a predominantly sex-themed online site that contains hundreds of threads sharing obscene material.

In his defence, Ali, who was unrepresented, admitted that he had the obscene films in his possession but disputed that they were for distribution.

He also claimed that his aim was to expose the wrongdoers in LittleSG - another Google group for people to share and download obscene films.

DPP Johannus, who had urged the court to give Ali the maximum sentence, said it was a "ridiculous defence".

Ali told the court in his mitigation plea on Wednesday that he was sorry for what he had done.

He added: "After my release, I will do my best to get the videos out of the Internet."