SINGAPORE — When Ganesan Gunasagaran spotted a man and woman leaving a communal toilet at the condominium complex where he worked as a senior security guard, he accused the man of trespassing.
The Japanese man fell in love with Ganesan’s allegation that he was an ‘undercover’ agent of the ‘police licensing sector’, increasingly frightened by Ganesan’s claims that he would be charged in court and would go to jail.
He then agreed to give Ganesan S$10,000 to remove the CCTV footage from the toilet.
While waiting for the money, Ganesan further claimed to have told other officers that the victim had allegedly entered illegally and had sex in the toilet. But the victim then filed a complaint with the police without handing over any cash.
On Thursday April 21, Ganesan, a 33-year-old Malaysian, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison and three strokes of the cane.
He pleaded guilty to extortion, with two other counts of attempted gratification and impersonating a police officer under consideration for sentencing.
The court heard the incident happened at the Seahill condominium along West Coast Crescent last year. Ganesan was deployed there while working for Metropolis Security Systems.
At around 9 p.m. on October 19, the victim, a 29-year-old Japanese national who worked as a teacher, visited his fellow teacher – a 26-year-old Japanese woman – who lived there.
He entered the premises without reporting to the guard post or completing a SafeEntry check-in in accordance with Covid-19 regulations.
At around 11 p.m., the couple then entered a disabled toilet on the 24th floor. They then left the restroom and spent more time talking near there.
Court documents did not reveal what they did in the bathroom.
SAID HE MIGHT “DO SOMETHING”
Ganesan, who was on the same floor, noticed the couple. He approached them and accused the victim of trespassing, then claimed he photographed them exiting the toilet together.
He insisted the victim had committed “serious offences” and the victim could go to jail.
Frightened by this, the victim asked Ganesan to speak elsewhere and allow the woman to return to his unit. Ganesan agreed and the two went to West Coast Park.
Under the pretext of texting the woman he had been visiting, the victim recorded their conversation with his mobile phone.
Ganesan told him not to worry as he could ‘do something’ for him, asking if he ‘want to come for a settlement’ and ‘how much you want to settle’.
The victim asked him if he wanted advice, which Ganesan accepted. He said he wanted S$10,000 and claimed the couple’s faces were clearly filmed, and he had to review 90 camera footage to remove all relevant footage.
Ganesan also went on to point out that once the victim is charged in court, she would be “kicked out of the country” after going to jail.
He further claimed that he was a “senior officer” in the “police licensing industry” working undercover.
Fearing what might happen, the victim agreed to first pay Ganesan S$2,000 before transferring the remaining sum within a week. Ganesan then agreed to let him go home to prepare the money.
Over the next few hours, Ganesan called him several times and sent him screenshots of the toilet CCTV footage.
He also told the victim that he worked at the police cantonment complex and sent him photographs of the police station to support his claim that he was a police officer.
He also claimed to have informed officers from the Clementi Police Division of the victim’s “illegal entry into the property and having sex in the restroom with a student”, and that the victim should “wait (his) Japanese embassy” and be ready to “hand over your S Pass/permit”.
Ganesan finally claimed to have suspended the investigations and asked the victim not to delay matters further. He also said he knew the victim’s friend’s address and threatened to tell the unit owner about the incident.
The victim filed a complaint at that time. Ganesan was arrested by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau two days later.
HE EXPLOITED THE FOREIGN: DPP
Deputy Attorney General (DPP) Gabriel Choong requested two and a half years in prison and between three and six strokes of the cane.
Among the aggravating factors cited by the prosecutor was the fear that Ganesan had instilled in the victim for 22 hours through multiple calls and text messages.
Ganesan had also exploited a foreign national working in Singapore, who risked losing his job and residence here if Ganesan followed through on his threats, DPP Choong said.
The prosecutor added that Ganesan betrayed Seahill’s trust by seeking gratification instead of taking action against the victim for his violation of SafeEntry.
As mitigation, Ganesan – who did not have a lawyer – pleaded for clemency and said he was the sole breadwinner in his family.
“The Covid pandemic has pushed me into a depression… I am distressed because of this,” added Ganesan, who said he wanted to return to Malaysia as soon as possible.
For putting a person in fear of harm in order to commit extortion, they could have been imprisoned for at least two years and up to five years, as well as caning.