Singapore man from top UK university admits to filming 'maybe 3 digits' of voyeuristic videos, gets 1 year's jail

Colin Chua Yi Jin had pleaded guilty on July 29 last year.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man who was a student at a top British university when he admitted to filming women at various places, including toilets here, was on Wednesday (June 22) sentenced to a year's jail and a fine of $2,500.

Colin Chua Yi Jin, now 24, had pleaded guilty on July 29 last year to seven counts of insulting the women's modesty and an offence under the Films Act.

His clips involved 11 identified women and one unknown victim.

There was initially a gag order on his identity, but it was lifted last year after Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon upheld a lower court decision to do so.

The Chief Justice had said that courts have the power to impose gag orders to protect victims - to prevent them from suffering further and so that victims are not afraid to come forward.

He added: "A gag order has nothing to do with the benefit of accused persons."

He also noted that Chua's victims spoke with one voice and had wanted his identity revealed.

The gag order still remains on details that could lead to the identification of the victims, including their relationship with Chua and the name of his university, where he was enrolled in 2018.

During an earlier proceeding, the court heard that Chua's first victim, then 18, was recorded showering in a hotel room toilet in the wee hours of Dec 2, 2015.

In early 2016, the principal of the victim's junior college told her a clip of that incident had been circulating online and the police were alerted.

The woman said in her victim impact statement that she felt betrayed.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhi Hao had said: "She has turned down many social activities that involve staying at birthday parties at hotels and chalets in fear that she would have to use a public toilet. She has self-esteem issues and feels 'very unworthy'."

Chua continued targeting more women after this. Among other places, he installed a recording device in a toilet at his Singapore home and filmed some of his victims.

He also took an upskirt video of a 20-year-old woman while she was on an escalator.

The court heard last year that two of his videos were circulated online.

After receiving multiple reports between early 2016 and June 2019, officers from the Singapore Police Force identified Chua as the main suspect following preliminary investigations.

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They raided his home on July 3, 2019, and seized seven of his personal devices. Forensic analysis uncovered 16 offending videos and 124 upskirt photographs in the devices.

Among the two videos that were circulated online and the other 16 found in his devices, 14 were taken in his home.

He later came clean to the police about his misdeeds.

DPP Tan had said last July : "In total, he estimated that the number of voyeuristic videos he had filmed was 'maybe three digits'.

"He would commit the offences when he felt stressed from school or work. He felt that filming the victims 'was an addiction' to him."

On Wednesday, defence lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan pleaded for Chua to be given nine months' jail, stressing that he was below 21 years old when he committed the bulk of his offences.

The lawyer told the court that Chua has voyeuristic disorder and has taken steps to get treatment.

He also said that Chua is deeply apologetic for the hurt that he had caused his victims.

It was not mentioned in court if Chua is still studying at the British university.

Before handing down the sentence, District Judge Tan Jen Tse said that the impact caused to the victims was severe.

For each charge of insulting a woman's modesty, an offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.