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NTU research fellow who took upskirt photos around university, shopping malls gets jail

NTU research fellow who took upskirt photos around university, shopping malls gets jail

Guo Zhihong recorded more than 2,200 upskirt photos of women over a six-year period. (Photo: Ili Nadhirah Mansor/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A 30-year-old man took upskirt photos of women from 2015 until his arrest in 2021, including at numerous locations around Nanyang Technological University (NTU), shopping malls and MRT stations.

Guo Zhihong was sentenced on Monday (Mar 21) to 10 months and five weeks' jail. He pleaded guilty to two charges of voyeurism and one charge of insulting a woman's modesty. Another seven charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Taking all the charges into consideration, Guo recorded more than 2,200 upskirt photos over the six-year period.

The court heard that Guo was a research staff member at NTU's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the time of the offences.

Responding to CNA's queries, an NTU spokesperson said that Guo's employment was terminated with effect from Apr 22, 2021. 

"NTU has a zero tolerance stance towards all forms of harassment, including voyeurism and sexual misconduct," said the spokesperson.

Guo had taken upskirt photos at several locations in NTU, including the overhead bridge near the Lee Wee Nam Library, around Hall 11 and its bus stop, and around Quad Cafe and Canteen B in the South Spine area.

He also committed the offences at staircases outside the Lee Wee Nam Library and Nanyang Auditorium, a staircase leading to NTU North Hill and a staircase within the South Spine area.

Guo found other victims in various shopping malls in Orchard Road and Somerset and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. He also took upskirt photos around MRT stations including at Orchard, Jurong East, Pioneer, Boon Lay, Dhoby Ghaut and Bukit Batok.

"Whenever the accused saw women wearing skirts, shorts or yoga pants whom he found attractive, he would take full body back view photos and upskirt photos of them," said the prosecution.

He stored the photos on a hard disk and later, when the hard disk stopped working, on a laptop. The photos were kept in folders labelled in chronological order, based on when they were recorded.

CAUGHT RED-HANDED

Guo's offences were discovered when he was caught in the act on Apr 11 last year. He had made plans to have dinner by himself and take upskirt photos at Orchard MRT station.

At about 8.15pm, Mr Seah Choon Kong, was walking from ION Orchard to Orchard MRT station when he noticed Guo walking closely behind the victim and her female companion. Mr Seah saw that Guo was holding his mobile phone below the victim's skort - a pair of shorts with an overlapping fabric give the appearance of a skirt.

On an escalator that was travelling upwards at Wheelock Place, Mr Seah saw Guo take upskirt photos of the victim from where he was standing a step below her.

After confirming with the victim and her female companion that Guo was not their friend, Mr Seah told the women that Guo had been following them for some time and had behaved "suspiciously, by standing close to them and filming them from a low angle".

Mr Seah then confronted Guo and asked to see the photo gallery on his phone. Guo at first refused and was seen fiddling with his phone, as if trying to reset it. He was stopped from doing so.

When Guo finally relented, he showed them a random album in his gallery with no photos in it. He also reduced the brightness of his screen, making excuses that his battery was running low and that he had personal contents on the phone he did not want them to see.

He also tried to leave, but was detained by Mr Seah and two other male passers-by while the mall's security was alerted.

When the police arrived, Guo initially refused to unlock his phone and tried to do something with his photo gallery. His phone was then seized by the police, who examined the gallery and found multiple photos of women's buttocks.

Guo admitted to the police that he had taken those photos without the women's consent in the past few weeks. After forensic examination, a total of 19 photos were also found in the phone.

Police raided Guo's apartment a day after he was caught, seizing six more electronic devices.

The collection of upskirt images on Guo's laptop and phone included 622 photos belonging to 100 unknown victims. He admitted to recording these in 2020 at different locations around Singapore without the women's consent.

Police also found another 315 photos of 72 unknown women recorded in Singapore in 2016 on his laptop.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Wen Kym asked for 11 to 14 months' jail. She said Guo was a prolific serial upskirter with no fewer than 400 victims, who committed his offences with premeditation. He had admitted to planning outings to record upskirt photos.

She also highlighted that some of Guo's photos were taken on a university campus, "where students should be able to feel safe and not worry about the risk of voyeuristic images of them being captured".

Source: CNA/dv(ta)

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