SINGAPORE: About a year after graduating from university, a man trespassed into a residence hall and stole a vibrator belonging to a woman he was following on Instagram.
Chua Chang Rong, 27, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Mar 23) to three charges of theft, criminal trespass and sending insulting communication intending to cause alarm. A fourth charge of criminal trespass will be considered in sentencing.
The court heard that Chua committed the offences in 2019, about a year after he graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
He came to know of the victim, a 22-year-old student at the university, through Instagram during his time at the school. He found her attractive and began following her public Instagram account, according to court documents. He also found out through her profile that she lived in a residence hall.
The woman, whose identity is protected by gag order, did not know Chua.
TAILGATED STUDENT TO GET IN
During the time of the incident, Chua was working as a product specialist.
He knew from the woman's posts on Instagram that she was travelling overseas in early January 2019, and decided to look for her room in the university hall.
He entered the hall by tailgating a student. Based on his previous experience at the university, he knew that most students did not lock their room doors and often left their names on their doors.
He looked around the hostel and found the victim's room with her name on the door. He entered the room, which was unlocked, and looked through her personal belongings, including her lingerie.
When he found a S$40 vibrator in a drawer, he felt sexually aroused and took it with him, the court documents said.
When the woman returned from her travels, she was unable to find her vibrator but assumed that she had misplaced it.
On Jul 18, 2019, Chua decided to return the sex toy. After watching the victim's Instagram story that showed she was at work, he entered the hall again by closely following behind another student.
When he got to the victim's room, he rummaged through her belongings again and saw two new sex toys in a box. He fiddled around with them and took a photo of the items, and returned the first vibrator he had stolen.
He also took a photo of the victim's resume that he found, before leaving.
HE DECIDED TO CONTACT HER
A few days later on Jul 22, 2019, Chua felt sexually aroused while thinking about how he had entered the victim's room and looked through her belongings, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Li Yihong.
He decided to message the victim and found her on Telegram by searching for her Instagram handle.
He did not reveal his phone number and messaged her under the username "Bobby" in a secret chat.
He told her that he had returned her sex toy as he "wanted to surprise" her, and said he noticed that she had bought new sex toys.
The woman replied to ask who he was, but he did not reveal his identity. Instead, he sent her messages asking her if she wanted to be friends with benefits "since I already know your dirty little secret".
He offered to be available whenever she wanted to be "satisfied" and said they could "get to know each other real well".
The victim did not reply these messages and was alarmed and very scared, as Chua had suggested that he had entered her room without her knowledge, court documents said.
When she got to her room later that night, she found her missing sex toy and informed NUS campus security, who reviewed closed-circuit television footage and spotted a man entering her room.
The victim later lodged a police report and he was identified by the police.
The prosecutor, Ms Li, asked for at least four weeks' jail. She objected to the defence's request to call for a report assessing Chua's suitability for a mandatory treatment order.
PROSECUTION OBJECTS TO MTO SUITABILITY REPORT
She said the current Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report did not support the defence's private psychiatrist's diagnosis of a fetishistic disorder.
IMH had diagnosed Chua with an adjustment disorder with depressed mood and high sexual drive, along with possible paraphilia. However, this would not deprive him of his impulse control, said Ms Li.
Lawyer Raphael Louis said his client was "very ashamed of what he did" and has gone for counselling to address his issues. He is now on medication and has written a letter of apology to the victim.
The judge called for a report to assess if Chua is suitable for a mandatory treatment order, highlighting that issues on his cognitive control and ability to control his actions must be addressed.
Chua will return to court in May for sentencing.
For criminal trespass, he could be jailed up to three months, fined up to S$1,500, or both. For using insulting words intending to cause alarm, he could be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$5,000, or both.