A serial upskirter who has been engaging in illegal activities for over a decade has once again been caught just a year after being released from his latest prison sentence.
The serial offender was sentenced to 44 weeks in jail in March 2020 for filming upskirt videos of multiple women over a period of five years, according to CNA.
Tham Heng Yew, 27, used a hidden camera in his shoe to capture the videos. He would cut a hole in one of his shoes and place his mobile phone inside, with the video-camera function turned on and facing up..
Tham would then walk around public places, targeting women in dresses or skirts who he found attractive between July 2013 and July 2018. He would follow them until he had the opportunity to discreetly place his foot with the hidden camera under their skirts. Tham would delete any videos that did not capture footage of women’s underwear and save the “successful” clips to his laptops or hard drives.
In total, he faced 168 charges in 2020.
He faced a total of six arrests, with the initial incident occurring in July 2013 when he was apprehended for filming an upskirt video of a woman at Bukit Panjang Plaza. Following each arrest, he managed to secure bail on five separate occasions, but he repeated his offenses without fail.
Upon being released, he would consistently purchase fresh pairs of shoes, phones, and electronic storage devices to replace those that had been confiscated by the authorities, resuming his criminal activities. The reasons behind his multiple arrests and subsequent releases were not mentioned in the court records, according to the report.
REOFFENDED IN 2023
Tham Heng Yew, 31, was found guilty of indulging in voyeurism after cutting a hole in his shoe to film unsuspecting victims at a train station and a mall. However, he was apprehended by a vigilant bystander who noticed his suspicious behavior and confronted him, prompting Tham to flee in panic.
During the court proceedings on Tuesday (Nov 28), Tham pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism. It was revealed that he had previously been sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment in November 2021 for similar offenses.
Regardless, Tham felt the urge to engage in voyeuristic activities once again and meticulously prepared for his illicit actions.
Tham deliberately cut a hole in one of his shoes and inserted a phone with the camera lens facing upwards. Concealing the modified footwear in a bag, he headed to Jurong East MRT Station, where he covertly wore the shoe with the hidden camera.
Tham targeted multiple women at the train station and the nearby Jem shopping mall, positioning his foot under their skirts and recording explicit videos.
In total, he recorded at least 11 such incidents involving 12 women, the report added.
However, Tham’s spree came to an abrupt end when he attempted to target a 29-year-old woman in a supermarket at the mall.
A sharp-eyed friend of the victim caught Tham in the act and confronted him, leading to his panicked escape. The victim’s friend chased after him while shouting for him to stop, and with the help of a passer-by, Tham was eventually detained outside the mall. Tham admitted his guilty acts and pleaded for a chance when confronted by the victim’s friend before she promptly contacted the police.
During the investigation, Tham confessed to committing the offense despite being aware of its criminal nature, attributing his actions to depression.
He claimed that “to do acts that were thrilling enough to help him to reduce his stress and anxiety”, making him excited while watching the videos.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jotham Tay urged the court to impose a sentence of 15 to 18 months’ jail for Tham, highlighting his recidivism and the sophistication of his modus operandi. Tham had previously been convicted in November 2021 and March 2020, with the latter case involving over a hundred charges.
According to Mr. Tay, the modus operandi used by Tham was rather intricate, indicating premeditation. Tham had to cut a hole in his shoe and ensure that the camera was able to record videos through the hole.
UPSKIRT VIDEOS SINCE 2013
“Since 2013, he has consistently engaged in the same fraudulent scheme,” DPP Mr. Tay stated in court.
“What we have here is a repeat offender who shows no willingness to change. Furthermore, the time gap between his reoffenses is relatively short.”
Mr. Tay mentioned that Tham would have been released from his most recent 10-month jail term in mid-2022, which means he committed new offenses within a year.
In his defense, Tham expressed deep remorse, acknowledging the negative impact his voyeuristic disorder has had on his life for the past five years. He vowed to accept the consequences and seek treatment during his sentence, emphasizing his desire to change and not offend anymore.
“As stated earlier, I have been going through a very difficult time for the past five years due to this voyeuristic disorder that I am struggling with,” he said.
“Ever since that day, I have been burdened with regrets and I wish I had dealt with my emotions differently.”
“Upon my release, I plan to seek treatment because I genuinely want to eliminate this issue from my life, as it has had a severely negative impact,” Tham added. “I want to change and cease being a repeat offender.”
The judge requested additional arguments for sentencing and adjourned the case until December.
Images for illustration purpose only
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