Singapore

6 months' jail for jobless NUS grad who installed pinhole camera in gym toilet


SINGAPORE – He installed a pinhole camera disguised as a hook in a male toilet at Anytime Fitness gym in Hillview Rise to peep at men urinating.

When Sean Lee Yang, 27, realised his device had been discovered by a cleaner and kept in an office, he waited at the 24-hour gym for four hours for an opportunity to retrieve it.

Lee, who was unemployed after graduating from the National University of Singapore (NUS) recently, was sentenced to six months’ jail on Thursday (Oct 14) on two charges – one for destroying evidence to be used in court and the other for installing equipment used to commit an offence.

Roughly two weeks before the incident in August 2020, Lee purchased a spy camera disguised as a clothing hook from e-commerce site Lazada, according to court documents.

He planned to use it to covertly view men urinating as he had a fetish for such videos. The camera has a memory card slot to enable recordings to be saved.

He would head to the gym at HillV2 mall at different times of the day up to three times a week to install the camera in the men’s toilet without being discovered.

While changing into his workout attire, he would plant the device under the hand dryer, pointing the camera to face the urinals.

After working out, he would retrieve the camera around an hour later and filter through the videos at home, keeping those that captured male genitals, said court documents.

“He then viewed the videos for his pleasure. The accused person had been doing this for some one to two weeks,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Heershan Kaur.

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But on Aug 10, 2020, gym cleaner Muhammad Rasydan Mustafar Kamir discovered the clothing hook below the hand dryer and became suspicious.

He turned it around and realised it was a camera equipped with an SD-card and a USB port in the hook.

While exercising, Lee noticed a staff member holding his device and placing it in the staff office.

Desperate to retrieve it, he remained in the gym from around 10.30pm to 2.30am, intermittently exercising while waiting for a chance to sneak into the office.

When the coast was clear, he entered the office, took the device from a drawer and left the gym.

Afraid the footage would be used against him in court, he threw the camera and the memory card in a rubbish chute at his block in Segar Road, Bukit Panjang. The incriminating videos were never recovered, said court documents.

But closed-circuit television cameras caught Lee entering the gym’s office and the male toilet, and was reported to the police by the gym manager.

In his mitigation plea, defence lawyer Johan Ismail said this was Lee’s first offence and he regretted his actions. He added that Lee had just graduated from NUS.

DPP Kaur urged the court to sentence Lee to seven to nine months’ jail, and said that while he was a first-time offender, this was not a one-off incident. There were multiple victims involved since the offence was the last in a routine spanning one to two weeks, she added.

She stressed that voyeurism remains a pressing concern in Singapore, with such acts being aided by technology.

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“A clear signal ought to be sent to society that such depraved conduct and attempts to thwart justice will attract the strictest penalties,” said DPP Kaur.

For committing an act of voyeurism and destroying court evidence, Lee could have been fined and jailed for up to two years for each offence under the Penal Code.





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