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Singapore

Reformative training for young man who took upskirt videos again while on probation

SINGAPORE: Even though he was under probation for previous offences, including taking an upskirt video of his teacher, a young man bought another phone and took a similar video of a woman in a lift.

For that, 20-year-old Daniel Chua Poh Boon was hauled back to court on Thursday (Jan 3), where the judge scolded him sharply for his actions.

Chua had been sentenced to probation for five offences committed in 2015, including taking an upskirt video of his 27-year-old teacher in school, setting fire to a whiteboard in an abandoned school and stealing a toy car.

His mother furnished a S$5,000 bond at the time to ensure his good behaviour, and one of the conditions of his probation was that he could not buy a phone with a camera function.

However, after he was placed on probation, he defied this condition and bought a black Samsung J3 Pro mobile phone, the court heard.

On top of this, his mother knew about it, District Judge Mathew Joseph said.

With the phone, Chua followed a 25-year-old woman into the lift at a block of flats in Sengkang on Dec 5, 2017.

He stood behind the woman and placed his phone under her dress, the prosecution said. 

The woman looked at a mirror inside the lift and saw Chua's hand under her dress. Noticing that the camera lens of the phone he held was turned upwards, she immediately confronted him, before detaining him and calling the police.

Chua later admitted that he wanted to take an upskirt video of the woman "because it boosted his mood and gave him pleasure".

His actions were caught on the closed-circuit television camera installed in the lift, and an 18-second video was found in his phone.

Chua pleaded guilty to one charge of intruding on the privacy of the woman with the intent to insult her modesty.

DEFENCE ASKS FOR MORE PROBATION, PROSECUTION OBJECTS

His defence lawyer Dennis Chua asked the judge to sentence his client to probation, while the prosecutor asked for reformative training instead.

Reformative training is a harsher punishment than probation, and is given to offenders aged below 21, detaining them in a structured environment with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying said Chua had "a complete lack of genuine remorse", not turning up on seven occasions for community service that he was required to perform.

Additionally, his mother was “permissive of his conduct”, and placing him on further probation would expose him to this risk, she said.

Chua's defence lawyer admitted that the family has failed to prevent the accused from re-offending, but said Chua's mother regrets her actions and has learnt her lesson.

The judge said Chua's mother "has failed miserably" in her duty of rehabilitating her son and ensuring his good behaviour.

She was supposed to assist her son in his rehabilitation, he said, but instead helped him get another phone which he used to re-offend.

The defence said Chua has received a very good report of his conduct while performing National Service, and there are overall "positive aspects of this young man" that would warrant probation.

The judge sentenced Chua to at least six months' reformative training. However, he did not forfeit the S$5,000 bond put up by Chua's mother, when implored by the defence to show compassion. The phone was forfeited to the police for disposal.

Source: CNA/ll(hm)

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