SINGAPORE — A man who kept filming his domestic helper showering was jailed for four months on Wednesday (14 July) after the victim recorded him in the act.
The 67-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of insulting the 32-year-old helper’s modesty under the old provision of the Penal Code, and one count of voyeurism under the new provision, with two similar charges taken into consideration for his sentencing.
He had held his handphone in the gap between the toilet door and floor to record the maid from Myanmar showering. The maid, who began working for the man and his wife in March 2016, saw the phone and placed her own phone outside the toilet to catch the perpetrator. The maid and her male employer cannot be named due to a gag order.
In August 2019, the maid told the man she was going to shower. The man felt the urge to see her naked body and waited for her to enter the toilet in the kitchen before heading there to record her.
He inserted his phone into the gap between the toilet door and floor, and angled it so that he could see her naked body fully. He then went to the living room to watch the video before deleting it.
He recorded her in such a manner on nine occasions in total, from August 2019 to January last year.
On 21 December 2019, while the man was recording the maid in the same manner, the latter noticed the phone sliding under the toilet door, with the camera lens facing her. She did not try to find out who was holding the handphone or raise the issue with her employers as she was afraid.
Instead, she decided to hide her handphone in the kitchen, leaving it in video-recording mode with the camera lens facing the toilet door so she could capture the person recording her.
On 12 January last year, after placing her handphone in such a manner, the maid took a shower. She later checked her video and found that it was her male employer who was filming her.
The next day, around midnight, the maid left the house without informing her employers. She went to the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics along Geylang Road for help. The non-governmental organisation advised her to lodge a police report and she did so, which led to Tan's arrest later that day.
Defence lawyer Cheryl Ng described Tan's actions as an "unfortunate lapse of judgment" and added that her client wished to apologise to the victim. Tan had pleaded guilty, cooperated with the police, and was forthcoming with details of his offences.
District Judge Lorraine Ho noted that this was Tan's first brush with the law. The DJ also considered the number of occasions he committed the offences, and that if his actions were not detected, he could still be offending.
Under the old provision of insulting a woman's modesty, the man could have been jailed up to a year, or fined, or both. He could have been sentenced to one-and-a-half times the amount of punishment for committing the offence against a domestic helper.
Under the new provision of voyeurism, he could have been jailed up to two years, or fined, or caned, or any combination of the penalties. For committing the offence against a domestic helper, the man could have been sentenced to twice the maximum punishment.
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