Man admits to hiding cameras in Starbucks toilet, possessing more than 2,000 obscene videos

Man admits to hiding cameras in Starbucks toilet, possessing more than 2,000 obscene videos

Clarence Tan Jia Ming is the last in a voyeuristic video group, made up of members of the Sammyboy Forum, to be sentenced.

Clarence Tang Jia Ming sammyboy forum member
Tang Jia Ming Clarence seen leaving the State Courts on Aug 23, 2018. (Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A 26-year-old digital marketing specialist who was part of a voyeuristic video group pleaded guilty on Thursday (Aug 23) to recording obscene videos of women relieving themselves in the toilet.

Clarence Tang Jia Ming, a Sammyboy Forum member, also admitted to possessing more than 2,100 obscene films.

Most of the 31 charges he admitted to involved hiding a camera that had been disguised as a wall hook in the toilet of a Starbucks outlet at Holland Village between 2014 and 2015.

The court heard that Tang chose the Starbucks outlet at Holland Village because of "the high number of females aged between 18 and 25 years who were likely to use toilets" there.

Tang also installed a similar camera disguised as a wall hook in his own washroom, and subsequently recorded a video of a 22-year-old female friend taking a shower.

HE LEARNT HOW TO DO IT FROM FELLOW SAMMYBOY FORUM MEMBER

Tang is the last of five men involved in the case to be sentenced. Four other Sammyboy Forum members have been sentenced to between six months' and three years' jail.

Tang had learnt how to plant hidden cameras from fellow Sammyboy Forum member and co-accused Ong Yi Jie.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Li Yihong noted that Tang was "skilled in camera placement", angling the camera so that it would clearly capture the faces of the women and their private parts. 

The videos captured were of "very high quality and resolution" and in colour, the prosecutor said.

In total, he recorded 73 obscene films in this fashion, with 68 of them taken at the unisex toilet of the Starbucks outlet at 255 Holland Avenue.

The offences came to light in November 2016 after the Ministry of Education made a police report saying that it had received information that there were obscene videos of schoolgirls in toilets or changing rooms.

These had been taken with hidden cameras and were circulating on Sammyboy Forum, Google Groups and file-sharing website Volafile.

The police raided Tang's home that month and seized multiple items, including hard drives, tablets, cameras, a laptop, an iPhone and three cameras that could be controlled remotely.

An analysis of the external hard disk drives revealed more than 4,900 sex-themed films, with more than 2,100 of them certified obscene by the Board of Film Censors.

VOYEURISTIC VIDEO RING SET UP IN 2016

Police investigations identified a Google group known as SG Horizon Club, which was used to distribute secretly filmed videos of women and girls relieving themselves in public toilets or trying on clothes in changing rooms.

The group was set up by Ali V P Mohamed, a 46-year-old unemployed man, who was jailed for two years and fined S$80,000 in January.

Ali set up the group in late 2016 and publicised the group on Sammyboy Forum. At its peak, the group had about 200 members. 

Tang was identified as one of those who had shared the videos, along with three other co-accused: Joel Chew Weichen, Shaun Lee and Ong Yi Jie.

Tang, Ong and Lee also used Skype accounts to trade obscene material.

Chew, a 27-year-old sales engineer, was sentenced to six months' jail in October last year, while 28-year-old fund accountant Lee received 11 months' jail in March.

Ong, a 27-year-old customer service officer, was sentenced to three years' jail in February.

The case has been adjourned for a Newton hearing in January next year as the prosecution and defence have differing views on whether Tang was suffering from any psychiatric disorder at the time of the offences.

Source: CNA/ll(aj)

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