Sneaky business: Upskirt video cases on the rise

Sneaky business: Upskirt video cases on the rise
STEALING A SHOT: Offenders sometimes hide the phone in a roll of newspaper and place it below a girl's skirt.

Honour among thieves - and now, kinship among perverts?

Upskirt video fanatics sometimes share their spoils on websites that attract contributors from Singapore, Japan and as far away as the US.

But many are not interested in just viewing the videos. The thrill is in the filming.

Be Keng Hoon, a former test engineer, took more than 200 upskirt videos in just 10 months.

He was given a nine-month jail sentence, but is out on bail appealing his sentence.

Watching pornography or looking at pictures of scantily-clad women do not satisfy these offenders.

"They must be the ones capturing the video. It is the thrill of doing it to an unsuspecting individual and getting away with it that makes it sexually exciting for them," said Dr Ken Ung, a consultant psychiatrist at Adam Road Medical Centre.

Be was not the only one with a library of upskirt videos.

This week, a systems technician was jailed nine months for capturing close to 100 upskirt videos of women over a two-year period.

He would stand behind women on an escalator, place his mobile phone on his thigh and prop it up by stepping onto the next step of the escalator.

He was caught on May 23 last year by someone who saw him taking upskirt videos of a 13-year-old girl's inner thighs and underwear at VivoCity.

In passing sentence, District Judge Christopher Goh said that such offences were on the rise. (See next page.)

With pornography widely available online, including websites featuring upskirt videos, why do these men risk everything to capture upskirt videos?

Addictions specialist Munidasa Winslow said: "They experience a thrill doing something that they know they should not be doing. It makes them feel alive.

"Unfortunately, the excitement takes on a life of its own and they start doing more and more risky things."

Dr Winslow, who sees about one new case a month, said that technology and better camera phones have made it easier for such offences to be carried out.

"But I wouldn't say it's a growing trend. This problem has always been around," he said.

Most of his patients are men who have run afoul of the law and have to go to him for treatment as part of the rehabilitation process.

Dr Ung said that many of these offenders have sexual inadequacies, low self-esteem or experienced past trauma.

But he said they are not crazy.

HARD TO PREDICT

"They're normal, good people," he said, adding that they would seem responsible, even be married or have steady girlfriends.

Dr Ung said: "They do this as a way of coping with their problems."

Such behaviour, though, is hard to pre-empt, said psychologist Daniel Koh of Insights Mind Centre.

"You won't go around telling your family, friends or colleagues if you have such a problem. It's also not like depression, where it stops you from working and carrying out your daily activities," he said.

He added that this problem surfaces only when someone gets caught.

But with the right treatment, which could come in the form of anti-depressants and/or counselling, such behaviour can be curbed, said Dr Ung.

Only 5 per cent of his patients are repeat offenders, he said, but he did not specify how many patients he has.

He said: "Most of them are caught for the first time. We see them for a brief period and they don't come back. There's hope."

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