SINGAPORE: A landlord who tried unsuccessfully to film his two female tenants from China while they were in the toilet was sentenced to two months' jail on Thursday (Dec 6).
Lim Fang Foo, 52, pleaded guilty to one charge of attempting to intrude upon the privacy of a woman with the intention of insulting her modesty. A second charge was taken into consideration.
The court heard that the two tenants, aged 23 and 30, rented a master bedroom from Lim.
The older woman moved into the Sengkang apartment in May last year, while the other moved in as a joint tenant six months later.
Sometime in mid-December last year, Lim bought a black pinhole camera from Sim Lim Square, which came with a memory card.
He returned home and fiddled with it, learning how to operate it with the intention of wanting to see his tenants in the nude, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee said.
Although the women locked their bedroom, Lim had a spare key. He used this to enter the adjoining toilet and placed the pinhole camera in a ceiling vent, aimed at the shower.
He did this several times, placing the camera in the morning and retrieving it in the evening after the women went for their night shifts.
His ploy was uncovered by the older tenant on the morning of Dec 29, while she was showering. She noticed a black cube-like object in the ceiling vent and retrieved it.
When she realised it was a hidden camera, she passed it to the other tenant, who called the police.
Lim admitted to placing the camera in the toilet, but told police officers that he had been unable to successfully record any camera footage of either woman.
Forensic analysis of the device confirmed this to be true, and Lim later admitted that he had placed the camera in the ceiling on five separate occasions.
HE TRIED FIVE TIMES BUT WAS UNSUCCESSFUL: PROSECUTOR
The prosecutor asked for at least two months' jail to be imposed, citing the "premeditative and persistent nature" of the offences.
He noted that Lim had initially disavowed responsibility by telling the police that he did not know how to operate the camera.
The prosecutor added that Lim had purchased the camera before testing the device and trying unsuccessfully five times to record his tenants in the nude.
"It was purely fortuitous that he had failed to record any videos of the (women)," he said. "But for their vigilance, these offences could have gone on undetected."
He said Lim had abused his relationship as landlord to the tenants, who would have had a reasonable expectation of privacy since they were given keys to lock their room.
Lim's defence lawyer Marcus Tai asked for a month's jail, saying his client was remorseful and had given S$500 to each woman as compensation.
He added that Lim had "contributed to the public good" in his job as a manager of the residents' committee, pointing to a letter from the committee that commended him for his service.
Lim also is a stroke victim and had previously suffered a heart attack, he said.
When asked by reporters, the lawyer declined to reveal which precinct Lim was serving in and whether Lim still held the position of manager at the residents' committee.
The pinhole camera and memory card, along with a mobile phone seized from the case, were forfeited to the police for disposal.