What the 39-year-old Mr Lee had been stealing was underwear, and not for the first time either. From April 2018 to April 2020, Mr Lee had gone out numerous times to take bras and panties from different women.
A report in Channel NewsAsia says that over 100 bras and 41 panties were found in his home. He had gone to other people’s homes at least 30 times for the purpose of stealing underwear and was arrested on July 12 last year.
And on April 15 of this year, when circuit breaker restrictions had already been implemented, he left his house while he was still on bail in order to snatch some more women’s undergarments. Moreover, he was not wearing a mask when he left his house.
Mr Lee has entered a guilty plea to 10 charges of theft, criminal trespass, unauthorised access to computer material, and a breach of COVID-19 regulations, with another 14 charges to be considered as well.
According to Kwang Jia Min, the Deputy Public Prosecutor on the case, “The accused used the stolen bras and panties for his own sexual gratification.”
The judge on the case has called for the suitability report for a mandatory treatment order, and Mr Lee will be back in court for sentencing on June 1.
According to the prosecutor, it is still unknown whether Mr Lee has a psychiatric condition linked to his theft of women’s underwear.
There is a term for Mr Lee’s condition—melcryptovestimentaphilia. This is defined as “someone who compulsively steals ladies’ panties,” or “a physiological compulsive disorder, in which a person has the sexual desire to steal ladies underwear for personal wear or sexual pleasure of smelling.”
While other sources do not specify a particular colour of underwear that a person with this disorder has, one site says that people who suffer from this condition have an obsession with black underwear.
The same site says that sufferers of the condition do not usually seek treatment for it unless it becomes overly problematic for them. “The majority of people simply learn to accept their fetish and manage to achieve gratification in an appropriate manner.”
For those who do seek treatment, the following therapies are usually applied, psychoanalysis, hypnosis, behavior therapy cognitive therapy or drug therapy.
Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist, was quoted in TODAY Online last year as saying that there are some people who fixate on a non-living object as the primary means of sexual gratification.
“It has to cause a problem in the person’s life. For example, some married men don’t engage in proper sexual activities with their wives, and this can lead to marital issues when their wives catch them with the objects,” said Dr Lim.
An average of 19 diagnosed cases of such fetishes has been diagnosed at the IMH yearly from 2014 to 2018.
The psychiatrist added that people who suffer from this kind of disorder may feel guilt or other negative emotions about it. “The urge can be quite strong and they feel the need to do it in order to get sexual gratification but yet, they know it’s not something condoned by society. They may feel guilty about it, particularly if they have partners,” he said. —/TISG