Singapore

Spy cameras easily available, sales on the rise

Over a period of time, a sales engineer here amassed 280 obscene films, many of which depicted women in various stages of undress in public bathrooms and changing rooms.

The unsuspecting women, including schoolgirls, were filmed with secret cameras, and Joel Chew Weichen, 27, had collected the films for distribution.

Based on checks by The Straits Times, a worrying trend has emerged - the sale of such cameras is on the rise.

On online shopping platform Lazada, which has more than 600,000 hidden camera products available, sales for such cameras have grown 1.5 times this year compared with last year. The cameras come disguised as clocks, pens and even smoke detectors.

A spokesman said spy pens, which can cost $12, are the most popular. Spectacles with cameras may cost $85.

Lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said there are no restrictions in buying such cameras, "and some do so to monitor strangers who may come to their house, such as loan-shark runners".

OMG Solutions, which specialises in homecare and aged care, noted the increased demand for hidden cameras.

Founder Pieter Tjia said customers generally use such items to monitor elderly family members at home to ensure that no accidents occur.

But there are those who buy such items with vile intentions.

Chew, who was sentenced to six months' jail this month, was the first of five individuals to plead guilty to having the obscene films for distribution. The police investigated 597 insult of modesty cases in 2015, and 540 last year. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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