Netizens spot naked man in sale ad for flat

Agents say owner unaware of content when he sent photo for ad; real estate body investigating

In one of the photos of the flat which was posted on various property websites, a nude man could be seen in the reflection of a mirror.
In one of the photos of the flat which was posted on various property websites, a nude man could be seen in the reflection of a mirror.PHOTO: 99.CO

A sale advertisement for a Choa Chu Kang maisonette has inadvertently revealed more than its owners intended.

It has also prompted the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), which regulates the real estate agency industry, to look into the matter.

On Tuesday, eagle-eyed buyers noticed that one of the photographs of the 143 sq m HDB apartment stood out: In one of the bedrooms, a man's naked body - though not his face - could be clearly seen in a mirror's reflection.

The advertisement was posted on more than one property listing Internet portal.

The CEA is looking into the matter. According to its code of ethics, estate agents must conduct their work with due diligence and in compliance with all laws.

Property agent Benson Han, who is marketing the 12-year-old apartment for $570,000, told The Straits Times yesterday that the offending photo was one of a few that the owner had sent him over WhatsApp during the Chinese New Year period last month.

"He had just done some spring cleaning, and I guess while he was cooling off, he decided it was a good time to take better photos of the place," he said, adding that the flat has been on the market for about five months.

"Because (the photo) was so small, I didn't notice it," he added.

While the advertisement with its latest set of photos has been up for about a month, it was only on Tuesday that it caught the attention of some netizens.

Mr Han said he asked his colleagues to take down the ad from portals like PropertyGuru and as soon as he informed the owner about the situation.

"He was shocked. It was clearly unintentional," said Mr Han, who has been an agent for 20 years. "Who on earth would post a naked (person's) photo?"

His colleague, Ms Angeline Liang, an agent for 10 years, was just as adamant that it was a mistake.

Neither one has been in such a situation before.

But Ms Liang noted that among the many notifications she has received about the offending photograph, "quite a few" were circulating it for their own amusement.

She said: "It's not very nice to be sending such photos."

Those found guilty of transmitting an obscene object can be jailed for up to three months and/or fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2018, with the headline 'Netizens spot naked man in sale ad for flat'. Subscribe