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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 3:31pm
NewsHong Kong
COURTS

Voyeur who filmed 63 in bathroom blames poor flat sales for actions

Development company worker tells court he was under pressure after cooling measures hit flat sales, and it turned him into a peeping tom

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 December, 2013, 2:59am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 December, 2013, 4:25am
 

An assistant manager at a property development company who filmed 63 people using the bathroom at a show home blamed his actions on stress from poor flat sales in the wake of government market-cooling measures.

Lee Yeung-kai, 45, was jailed for three months and fined HK$29,000 by Kwun Tong Court yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to 29 counts of obtaining access to a computer with dishonest intent.

Passing sentence, Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin Kam-hung said Lee had invaded the privacy of members of the public and tarnished the image of Lai Sun Development, for which he worked as an assistant manager.

"A heavy penalty is necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offence and to deter others," Lin told Lee.

The prosecution said Lee had secretly filmed people using the bathroom of a show flat at the Ocean One development in Yau Tong between September 1 last year and March 5 this year.

The court heard that the offences came to light in March, when a colleague of Lee's found a black paper box placed on the floor in a corner of the bathroom. She opened the box to discover a mobile phone inside, with the camera still recording.

Further investigations revealed that the peeping tom had filmed 63 people using the toilet. Video clips found on the phone showed Lee setting up the camera, with parts of his face caught in the mirror. Lee no longer works for Lai Sun, chaired by prominent businessman Dr Peter Lam Kin-Ngok.

In mitigation, lawyers for Lee said he committed the offences because he was under severe pressure due to poor flat sales.

Developers have reported lower sales since the government imposed a 15 per cent stamp duty on non-local and corporate buyers, while increasing a "special stamp duty" by 5 percentage points for all buyers. The moves were intended to curb soaring property prices.

An annual survey by Citibank released last month showed that 15 per cent of Hongkongers were interested in buying homes in the previous quarter, down 10 percentage points on the same period last year, when the cooling measures were first imposed.

Lee is the latest in a string of peeping toms caught using hi-tech methods.

In August, police arrested their youngest peeping tom yet, an 11-year-old boy caught taking pictures under a woman's skirt on a light-rail train in Tuen Mun. That same month, a man was given a suspended jail term for using a pinhole camera embedded in his shoe to take upskirt pictures on the MTR.

A study by the women's committee of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong in July identified 21 "black spots" where voyeurs could use glass panels to sneak a peek. The spots included malls, libraries and MTR stations.

 

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