Friday, August 12 2022

SINGAPORE — A secondary school teacher pleaded guilty in court on Friday (February 25) to filming male colleagues and students at the school he worked at, as well as men in the communal toilets of his condominium complex.

He was caught targeting a police investigator who was using the restroom in the condo lodge.

The 49-year-old Singaporean man cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the identities of his victims.

He admitted two counts each of committing a public nuisance and making an obscene film, and six other similar counts are to be considered for sentencing.

The court heard he recorded at least 128 voyeuristic videos between February 2017 and April 2018.

At least 117 of them were taken to restroom urinals or the condo pavilion restroom without the victims’ consent.

The remaining videos, which showed men masturbating or with their private parts exposed, were reportedly taken with the subjects’ consent.

The accused stood at the urinal next to that of the victim to film them. Many of them captured the victims’ faces and exposed genitals, while three clips captured an unsuspecting young boy of unknown age showering in the condo’s clubhouse bathroom.

At least three of those videos involved teachers at his school, while at least two involved students.

The accused was finally arrested on April 15, 2018.

A 31-year-old police investigator was swimming in the condo and had gone to the clubhouse bathroom to shower before going to a bench and drying off.

The accused then pretended to look for his condo access card in the bathroom, which was a common modus operandi for him.

He stood on the bench in front of the victim with his cell phone camera pointed down.

He told the victim that he was trying to see if he had left his access card on the edge of the shower. After managing to capture a minute-long clip of the naked victim, he hastily left the bathroom.

Sensing that he was behaving suspiciously, the victim got dressed and left the bathroom but could not find the accused.

He then went to his relative’s condominium unit to retrieve his police warrant card and lanyard, before searching the compound for the accused.

He eventually spotted the accused, identified himself as a police officer and told him his suspicions. The defendant replied that he had not taken a nude video of the victim, but eventually handed over his iPhone.

As they made their way to the condominium guardhouse, the accused repeatedly asked the other man to give him another chance.

At the guardhouse, the accused unlocked his mobile phone at the request of the victim and the video of the victim then appeared.

A condo security guard filed a police report.

The accused was questioned at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) following his offences. He revealed to a psychiatrist that he would feel aroused watching the videos, which he transferred from his phone to his laptop.

He also said he would feel guilty and delete recordings for fear of being caught.

Deputy Attorney General Niranjan Ranjakunalan has asked for at least 11 weeks in prison and a fine of S$2,000, arguing that the defendant had broken the trust placed in him by his students and colleagues.

He was diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder with anxiety distress, but the prosecutor noted that his IMH report did not indicate how much the disorder contributed to his offenses.

Those found guilty of making an obscene film can be jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$40,000, or both. Those who commit public nuisance can be fined up to S$1,000.

Its offenses predate the criminalization of voyeurism. Those found guilty can be imprisoned for up to two years, fined, caned, or a combination of the three.

He will return to court to hand down his sentence on March 23.

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