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Polytechnic student gets probation for upskirt videos, tries to get gag order on his name

Polytechnic student gets probation for upskirt videos, tries to get gag order on his name

Photo illustration of a man taking upskirt photos. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A polytechnic student who took an upskirt video of a woman at an MRT station claims he went on his knees to beg the victim not to report the incident, and later thanked the man who spotted him for catching him in the act.

Singapore Polytechnic student Khai Jun Wei was sentenced to 21 months' probation on Monday (Nov 4) for one charge of insulting the modesty of women on 17 occasions, after more upskirt videos were found on his phone.

The 19-year-old man, who was unrepresented, tried but failed to get a court gag order on his name, saying that his female classmates would feel "distressed, discomfort or even threatened" if they knew there was a sexual offender in their class.

The court heard that Khai took an upskirt video of a woman at about 10.30pm on Sep 8 last year at Braddell MRT station.

A 31-year-old man saw him taking the video and confronted him. The video of the victim and several clips of other victims were also found on his phone.

He confessed to taking the video of the victim, and both the man who caught him and the victim took him to the MRT control station and reported the matter to the police.

His home was raided and subsequent investigations revealed that he had filmed 16 other upskirt videos of unknown women in various MRT stations across Singapore between Jul 31 and Sep 8 last year.

He admitted that he took them even though he knew it was wrong, because he had the urge to do it, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Jarret Huang.

He also admitted to keeping the videos "for his viewing pleasure".

ACCUSED ASSESSED TO HAVE MODERATE-TO-HIGH PROPENSITY FOR REOFFENDING

The prosecution said on Monday that it did not object to probation for Khai. However, the prosecutor said that there should be a longer term of intensive probation, or a higher bond to be furnished by the parents, as Khai was assessed in a psychiatric report to have a moderate-to-high propensity for reoffending.

The report assessed that Khai met diagnostic criteria for voyeuristic disorder, characterised by recurrent sexual fantasies, urges or behaviours involving observing an unsuspecting person who is naked, disrobing or engaging in sexual activity.

Khai's reoffending is likely to occur during periods of increased stress, said the report, such as in times of relationship conflicts or academic stress.

Khai, who was unrepresented, told the court that he was caught by the witness and begged him not to go to the police.

"After that, because he refused, so he wanted to tell the victim, and I told him 'let me do it instead'," said the teenager. "I went down on my knees, I did beg her not to go to the police, but the guy who caught me and the victim decided to inform Transcom which is the police in the MRT.

"Afterwards I also thanked the person who caught me, because I know that if he (hadn't) caught me, I would've continued in my mistakes and actions," said Khai.

He claimed that the man who caught him told him not to make the same mistake and added that he hoped Khai would really change and turn over a new leaf.

District Judge May Mesenas told the young man to make sure he remains crime-free, or risk having his probation revoked and possibly face a sentence of reformative training.

FEMALE CLASSMATES WILL BE DISTRESSED: OFFENDER

Khai, who submitted his own mitigation, tried to get a gag order on his identity.

"May I request to have my identity concealed," he said. "Because if my identity were to be exposed, I have female classmates in my class and if they know there is a sexual offender sitting in their class, they will feel distressed, discomfort or even threatened."

He added that he did not want to put his parents through the "unwanted spotlight" because of his actions.

"I feel being socially stigmatised is a far harsher sentence than probation or reformative training," he said.

However, the prosecution objected to it, saying that gag orders apply only to victims and there was "no basis to this request".

"Well, the prosecutor is right," said the judge. "This is one of the consequences of your own doing, isn't it? So you can request, but in this case I'd be hard-pressed to allow the application. This is an open court proceeding."

She told Khai that he was still young and had opportunities to change for the better.

Khai agreed to the conditions imposed with probation, including a 10pm to 6am time curfew, 120 hours of community service and offence-specific treatment.

He will also be prohibited from using electronic devices with camera functions unless he is assessed to be suitable to use them, and his parents furnished a S$5,000 bond to ensure his good behaviour.

"If you don't want to disappoint your parents or yourself, you will have to stick to the promises you have made," said the judge.

For insulting the modesty of a woman, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined or both.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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