NTU upskirter took videos of 335 women in just 171 days
DPP calls him a 'prolific serial upskirt offender' while defence says he shows 'potential to reform'
Almost every day for close to six months, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate would go on the prowl.
Shaun Ho Yan Liang would seek out women in shorts and skirts and walk near them to discreetly record an upskirt or under-shirt video using his phone.
Yesterday, the 26-year-old admitted to taking 469 such videos of 335 different victims over a period of 171 days.
He was convicted on two charges of insulting the modesty of a woman and one charge under the Films Act. Another charge under the Films Act was taken into consideration.
Ho, who was a final-year psychology student at NTU at the time, took the videos from Feb 2, 2018, at numerous locations including Eastpoint Mall, a lab in the National Institute of Education's School of Science, and the student activity centre and overhead bridge at the North Spine of NTU.
Describing Ho's modus operandi to the court, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sean Teh said he would trail a woman and squat or stand close to her with his phone's rear camera aimed at her.
On many occasions, including during lessons at NTU, he would follow the victim for some time and record multiple videos.
He took steps to avoid being caught, such as using an app that would show a blank screen on his phone while it was recording a video.
DPP Teh said Ho took these videos almost daily and would review them later and derive pleasure from them.
Ho also made screenshots from some of the videos.
His crime spree came to an end on July 22 after he was caught recording a victim.
The woman, who was with her boyfriend, was shopping at the supermarket at Eastpoint Mall when they noticed Ho loitering near them.
Ho had followed her, standing and squatting behind her to record a total of 10 videos, from 8.40pm to 8.55pm.
When the boyfriend realised what Ho was doing, he detained Ho and reported him to the mall's security.
The police seized Ho's phone and laptop on the same day.
Forensic checks found the videos he took, plus another 106 obscene videos he had downloaded from various websites.
Describing Ho as a "prolific serial upskirt offender", DPP Teh said yesterday: "The general public and, more specifically, students in educational institutions, must be protected from the egregious breaches into their privacy that upskirt offences present.
"Such offences insidiously undermine the sense of security and safety that all women ought to feel in public, and create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion within society, even in settings that ought to be comfortable and familiar."
Citing numerous past upskirt cases to make his point, he asserted that Ho's offences had a "greater degree of wrongdoing" compared with any of them in terms of the number of incidents and his modus operandi.
In mitigation, Ho's lawyer, Mr Kalaithasan Karuppaya, said his client deeply regretted and accepted responsibility for his actions.
"The accused is a bright individual," he said, citing testimonials from Ho's former classmates," the lawyer said.
"He is a highly motivated student with a bright future who has done well. He has shown potential to reform and contribute to society, and this is his first brush with the law."
He also said Ho had sought help and undergone five counselling sessions since getting caught in 2018.
Mr Kalaithasan added that Ho was not making any excuses for his actions and asked only for forgiveness, mercy and a lenient sentence.
In response, DPP Teh cited the case of Terence Siow, in which Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said references to the scholastic excellence of offenders were irrelevant unless a link could be drawn to their rehabilitation capacity.
Siow, 24, was initially given probation, but was jailed for two weeks after an appeal by the prosecution.
DPP Teh added that the link described by the Chief Justice was not drawn in Ho's case.
The prosecution has asked for Ho to be jailed for 10 months and three weeks.
District Judge Adam Nakhoda adjourned the case for sentencing as he needed time to consider the precedents.
Ho is expected to be back in court next Wednesday.
According to the NTU Psychology Society website, Ho was elected as a student adviser to the executive committee in elections on Sept 11, 2018.
An NTU spokesman said last night that Ho is no longer attending classes, and will be subject to the university's disciplinary proceedings after his court sentencing.
He added that NTU takes a strong stand against sexual misconduct, and any offender will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include suspension or expulsion, depending on the severity of the offences, and other mitigating or aggravating factors.
For each charge of insulting the modesty of a woman, Ho can be jailed for up to a year or fined, or both. For the Films Act charge, he can be jailed for up to six months or fined, or both.