Singapore – A man admitted to stalking a young woman for over 16 months, creating 17 Instagram accounts to harass her and hiring private investigators to follow her movements.
Toh Wen Jie, 20, pleaded guilty halfway through his trial on Wednesday (Apr 14) to one count of stalking the victim between Oct 2018 and Feb 2020, reported Channel News Asia.
Over the year and a half, Toh sent the victim explicit messages, called her his fiancée, girlfriend and wife and utilised various means to get in touch with the woman.
The court heard that Toh would wait outside the young woman’s university for three to four hours at a time over about a week and wrote on his personal question-and-answer Tellonym account that he had “a lot of time to kill” and would “literally strangle you if (it’s) not against the law.”
According to reports, Toh began eyeing the now 21-year-old victim, who will remain unnamed to protect her identity, in 2016 while participating in an event. He saw her once more at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, where he was a student, in 2017 during the Singapore Youth Olympic Festival.
The victim at that time did not know Toh was watching her, nor did they interact with one another.
He began messaging and interacting with the victim
It was in 2018 when Toh attended Anderson Serangoon Junior College and was stalking other girls that he stumbled on the victim’s Instagram account.
From Jun 8, 2018, Toh began harassing the victim by sending her dozens of messages through Instagram. He addressed her by her name and informed her that he was watching her.
At one point, he wished her luck for her A-Level exams and gave her his name and contact details. He would also say things like “you don’t seem like your usual self today” or “make the sensible choice today, we are friends for life.”
The victim only saw his messages on Oct 15, 2018, when she opened her Instagram inbox. She asked him to stop messaging her as it was a form of harassment. The woman blocked Toh when he replied, which made him upset.
Their first face-to-face interaction was in Dec 2018, when the woman was training for a sports team. Toh approached her and apologised before revealing his identity.
The victim realised who Toh was and became afraid. She ignored him and returned to her training, noted reports.
Toh went to the extent of applying for a job where the victim trained even though he was not part of the sports team. He would approach her and try to speak to her every time she was alone.
The woman would give Toh one-word replies before walking away as she did not wish to interact with him.
He visited her home and emailed her father
Toh also found out the woman’s home address in 2019 and visited her in June that year.
CNA noted that the woman hid in their living room while her sister answered the door. Despite being told to leave, Toh insisted on staying.
The family shut the doors and windows while Toh stood outside shouting for an hour. He told the police who had arrived that he had the right to be there as it was a public road. He left after another 45 minutes.
The stalker also discovered the victim’s father’s work email address and contacted him in early Sept 2019. The father did not reply but informed his daughter of the incident.
The court heard that Toh had used a third party to tell the young woman he had “ample resources and time to find out everything about her” and the “means to appear everywhere she goes”.
The victim and her mother filed a police report to launch a magistrate’s complaint against Toh in Sept 2019.
The option of mediation was suggested, but the victim did not wish to meet Toh. Therefore, the magistrate’s complaint was closed in Nov 2019.
Despite signing a statement to the police that he would not contact the victim or her father, Toh continued harassing them.
He visited their home, looked for her father at his workplace and created another Instagram account to harass the victim.
In a span of three weeks, Toh sent the victim hundreds of messages on Instagram using 16 different accounts as the victim would block each one.
Court documents noted that the messages were sexually intrusive and implied threats of violence to anyone in a relationship with the victim. The man showed anger and possessiveness towards the woman in his messages.
He sent her messages like “(you’re) not getting out … this is the story we created together months ago”, “people touch you they will suffer” and “if it’s sexual activities, you will reap what you sow”.
He hired private investigators to follow the victim
Toh also hired private investigators on Jan 7, 2020, to find out her daily activities, movements and circle of friends. They were tasked with filming her from 7 am to 11 am every day from Jan 13 to 17, 2020.
Toh then sent the footage to the victim.
The stalking continued until Feb 2020 as he waited for her at her university. He also threatened her if he ever saw her with someone else on Jul 18, 2020.
Toh was eventually charged and wanted to claim trial; however, he pleaded guilty on the first day.
The judge requested reports to check if Toh is fit for probation and reformative training. He will return to court next week.
For engaging in stalking acts, Toh could be imprisoned for up to a year and fined up to S$5,000./TISG