'I did what I did': NUS student Nicholas Lim breaks silence on peeping Tom scandal

PHOTO: The Straits Times

The man at the centre of the peeping Tom scandal that rocked the nation has finally broken his silence. 

The National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate, identified as Nicholas Lim, was said to be the offender who was caught filming fellow student Monica Baey while she was showering in a hostel toilet.

Amid overwhelming support for Baey after she shared her ordeal and named Lim on social media on April 19, he gave an exclusive interview to The Straits Times, saying that he doesn't think of himself as a "victim".

"I'm the perpetrator. I did what I did," he said.

In the series of Instagram Stories, Baey shared how NUS and the police failed to mete out adequate sanctions to the peeping Tom.

Her case sparked outrage with Education Minister Ong Ye Kung calling NUS' penalties "manifestly inadequate".

While Baey received the bulk of the media attention the past few days, Lim had kept quiet about the scandal but he is speaking up now because he wants people to know "how truly sorry I am".

CONFESSED TO FILMING

Lim insisted that he did not know what came over him that night of the incident. He was at Eusoff Hall after celebrating a touch rugby match with his teammates when he decided to act on his impulses. 

"The thought came and I did what I did. It was a hasty decision. I didn't know who was inside. I wasn't dead drunk," Lim revealed.

Shortly after, his girlfriend, who is also a student of NUS, received word about a peeping Tom preying on girls around campus. 

It was then he confessed to her that he had filmed her friend Baey.

The couple arranged to meet up with Baey to own up to his actions as well as seek for her forgiveness. 

He reiterated that he did not confess out of fear, but wanted to come clean and not run away from his actions. 

FAMILY UNDER SCRUTINY

As Baey's story started to spread like wildfire, it brought along intense media coverage on Lim as the public speculated about his background. 

He described feeling worried and scared after seeing the posts go viral and decided to inform his father, a taxi driver, and his mother, who is a housewife.

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Coincidentally, his grandmother passed away from a heart attack the next day, but he clarified that the death was not related to the scandal.

With two heartbreaking situations that his parents had to face, Lim said that it was painful to see them still worrying about him even as they prepared for the funeral.

"As a son, the last thing I want is for them to be so worried about me at their age, when I should be the one taking care of them," said Lim. 

"I SEEK EVERYONE'S FORGIVENESS"

The backlash also cost Lim his financial advisor job when his company, Great Eastern Singapore, suspended him after his dirty deed was made public. He has since resigned from the position. 

When asked if he felt that his punishment of a conditional warning and a suspension of one semester was too weak, he replied that he is in no position to judge.

"I hope that people realise the power and impact of social media, and use it for the good of the society. That being said, I am in no position to claim what is fair or not, nor right or wrong.

"I personally hope that nobody else, along with their loved ones, would have to go through the scrutiny and shaming we did. I would not wish that upon my worst enemy."

He also took the opportunity to seek forgiveness from the public.

"Nobody should ever be put through the kind of trauma that I caused Monica. People have condemned me and my actions - I deserve it.

"I condemn myself. I seek everyone's forgiveness," he said.

Meanwhile, NUS held their first townhall on April 25 where they admitted they had failed Monica Baey and would work on setting up a victim support unit and improving campus security. 

kimberlyfoo@asiaone.com