27-year-old sales engineer Joel Chew Weichen pleaded guilty on Thursday, 21 Sept, to possessing close to 300 obscene films for distribution, that were taken with hidden cameras in public toilets, offices, fitting rooms and even in the bathrooms of private homes.
Chew was one among five men who were busted in November 2016 for circulating such compromising footage of women, including schoolgirls, online. The police found 280 obscene videos out of 775 films stored on four hard disk drives, during a raid at his home on 25 Nov 2016.
It was revealed in court that Chew and the four others primarily distributed the photographs and videos of women in various states of undress in Sammyboy Forum and Google groups SG Horizon Club and LittleSG.
Sammyboy Forum is a mainly sex-themed online forum where obscene material like pornographic films and hidden cam films like upskirt videos are shared. SG Horizon was a closed group for Singaporeans to share sexually-themed films – the group was started by 46-year-old Ali V.P. Mohamed late last year who moderated the site. SG Horizon and Little SG was mainly developed to circulate obscene films of Singaporeans filmed in Singapore.
Ali and three others in their 20s are facing up to 253 charges. The three other men are 28-year-old fund accountant Shaun Lee, 25-year-old digital marketing specialist Clarence Tang Jia Ming and 27-year-old customer service officer Ong Yi Jie alias Kenneth whose cases are pending.
Seeking a sentence of at least six months jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tang Shangjun argued that the offence was planned and premeditated and that the filming and circulation of such obscene films have caused notable public distress since the films capture the victims’ faces and private parts in places like toilets and fitting rooms where users expect utmost privacy:
“Many of these films were filmed with hidden cameras that were placed in offices, bathrooms, and changing rooms of popular fashion outlets like Cotton On, and bathroom showers of private homes.
“These films captured unsuspecting women and girls, including schoolgirls in uniform, in various states of undress, relieving themselves in the toilet and/or taking showers.”
DPP Tang added that the repeated circulation of these films would cause further unimaginable shame to the victims.
Chew will return to court on 5 Oct where District Judge Prem Raj will sentence him. He could be fined a minimum of $2,000 per film, up to a maximum of $80,000, and/or sentenced to two years in jail.