Some women on alert for hidden cameras in changing rooms
He possessed more than 800 voyeuristic videos for distribution
As a child, Miss Angela Ouyang was told to look out for hidden cameras in changing rooms when she went shopping.
She never took the advice seriously - until now.
Yesterday, former security guard Ali V. P. Mohamed, the founder of a voyeuristic video group, was found guilty of being in possession of 801 obscene films for the purpose of distribution.
Ali was part of an online group that distributed voyeuristic videos taken with hidden cameras and the prosecution described the case as the "worst of its kind".He was given the maximum sentence of two years' jail and a fine of $80,000 after a two-day trial.
The case has shaken Miss Ouyang, and speaking to The New Paper yesterday, she said: "It never really occurred to me to check for cameras in changing rooms, so it is really disturbing to know that there are people who would go to such an extent to fulfil their sick pleasures."
The case came to light after a police report was lodged in November 2016 about films of schoolgirls relieving themselves or trying on clothes in changing rooms - along with other obscene films - being circulated on an online site known as Sammyboy Forum, which is a predominantly sex-themed forum with hundreds of threads sharing obscene material.
Though concerned, Miss Ouyang, 20, says the case will not stop her from going to stores and shopping at malls.
"It is like saying I won't cross a road again because I could risk a car accident," she said.
Housewife Tan Siok Meng, 50, says she will just take more care when she is in changing rooms. She said: "I try to be a bit more conscious when I am trying on clothes because of these types of reports, but I have confidence in the shops that I go to, so I am not too worried about it."
Some stores such as Triumph International, which sells intimate wear for women, already have safeguards in place.
Ms Sharon Poh, its advertising and promotions manager, told TNP the store's changing rooms are guarded.
"The changing rooms are within our counters, and our staff are usually close by," Ms Poh said.
She added that the staff check the changing rooms daily.
Senior retail lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic, Ms Sarah Lim, says the safety of customers "must be of the utmost importance."
With the fitting room a key advantage for a brick and mortar store over its online competitors, Ms Lim, 55, said: "The fitting room is an extension of the sales floor. If you have a camera in the fitting room, even if it is outside the actual cubicle, customers may feel it is a breach of their trust. Once that trust is broken, it is hard to get it back."
She urged stores to ensure staff keep an eye on the changing rooms at all times, because "upholding the safety of the customer is a committment that stores need to make".