Singaporean taxi driver jailed for taking ‘upskirt’ pictures

Singaporean taxi driver jailed for taking ‘upskirt’ pictures

SINGAPORE,.In less than 24 hours, a 50-year-old taxi driver went on a “shooting spree” to take more than 200 photos up the legs of women, including a passenger in his vehicle, before he was caught in a supermarket at Great World City mall.

In court yesterday, Samuel Ng Key Chai tried to plead for leniency by telling the judge that he was beset with financial troubles and he did not review the photographs he took, because seeing underwear would bring him bad luck, based on a fengshui website he read.

“I buy 4D, so I didn’t view the photos (because) I wish to strike (the lottery to pay off my debts),” he told District Judge Kessler Soh, adding that his debts amounted to almost S$200,000 (RM592,278.30).

However, Soh sentenced him to 4.5 months in jail, saying that a punishment is needed to deter other like-minded individuals from doing the same, because Singapore has recently seen “more and more of such cases despite stiff sentences”.

The court heard that Ng started driving a ComfortDelGro taxi after losing his job as a salesman.

On March 3 last year, he decided to switch on an application on his mobile phone called “Screen Off”, which causes the screen to go blank, but would still allow him to take photographs with his phone’s front-facing camera and a press of the volume button.

The photographs would be taken in a continuous “burst” until Ng pressed the volume button again to stop it.

Among his 15 charges, 14 pertained to offences committed at an unnamed shopping centre between 10.30am and 12.10pm — most of which were upskirt photos taken in a Daiso store.

Later in the afternoon, while driving his taxi, he continued to take photos of his passengers using the same “Screen Off” application, by placing his phone on the dashboard, the camera facing them.

Ng managed to take 18 upskirt photographs that revealed the underwear of one of his passengers who wore a skirt and was seated at the back.

He was later arrested at Great World City after a security officer at the mall’s Cold Storage supermarket called the police on him at about 3.40pm.

The 34-year-old security guard, Abdul Salim Abdul Latif, saw Ng behaving suspiciously and squatting down beside a female shopper while holding a mobile phone. He did the same to two more female customers there in quick succession.

Abdul Salim then approached Ng and detained him, but Ng deleted a few photographs from his phone.

The security officer told the police later that he discovered “many more videos and pictures” in Ng’s phone.

Yesterday, Ng admitted in court that taking upskirt photos is a “stupid way” to relieve stress.

“I was so confused and lost While walking (at Great World City), the problem came back to me. I thought (about how I was) left with S$10. The financial problem overwhelmed me. I was stressed, (so) I took the photos again.

“I don’t gamble at Resorts World Sentosa or Marina Bay Sands. I just buy Toto and 4D. I do not smoke, drink or (visit) prostitutes.”

To that, Soh said: “After you come out, I hope you put your life in order and won’t be tempted again to take such photos.”

When contacted by TODAY, ComfortDelGro said that Ng is no longer driving with the company.

Tammy Tan, senior vice president of its group corporate communications division, said: “Female passengers who feel threatened in any way should immediately contact someone on their mobile phones. If requests to alight are ignored, they should wind down the window and signal for assistance.

“Sexual harassment and the outrage of modesty are criminal offences which we do not tolerate. Any driver who is suspected of such offences will be handed over to the police.”

For each of his 15 charges of intruding upon the privacy of women with the intent to insult their modesty, Ng could have been jailed up to a year, and/or fined.

— TODAY

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