• Tue
  • Sep 2, 2014
  • Updated: 11:22pm
NewsHong Kong
SECURITY

Peeping Toms' upskirt filming forces HK buildings to cover up glass walkways

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 11:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 2:05pm
 

The newly opened PMQ arts hub has been forced to install panels and opaque stickers on glass staircases and walls where women were being inadvertently exposed, amid complaints that peeping Toms have been filming them.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said similar improvements had been completed at the Central Library in Causeway Bay and a public library in Tin Shui Wai following complaints. Security patrols have also been stepped up at the two sites.

Women were warned last month to be cautious as spy gadgets used by tech-savvy perverts become more sophisticated and harder to spot.

In response to concerns, the Central Library has placed opaque films on glass surfaces and the footbridge connecting to Victoria Park, according to a spokesman of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which administers the city’s public libraries.

“The remaining works including the escalators between floors will be completed this year,” the spokesman said.

Beyond ensuring health and safety standards are met, Lai said the government cannot control what building materials are used in the construction of large public hubs such as the PopCorn and Hysan Place malls, where concerns have also been raised about glass escalators and parapets.

And a manager of Hysan Development Company Limited, which runs the Hysan Place mall, said they had “provided extra precautionary measures to some particularly sensitive glass areas” and have not had further customer feedback on this issue since.

PMQ, installed in the renovated former police married quarters in Soho, has attracted huge crowds since it opened to the public last month. Panels, stickers and display boards have been added to staircases, walls and skylights that had been the subject of complaints about privacy.

In May, a camera encased in a wall-mounted plastic coat hook was reportedly found inside the Ma On Shan MTR station’s female staff toilet. The same type of device, which saves footage to a memory card, could be found on sale in Sham Shui Po for HK$800.

A HK$500 “smoke detector”, with an HD camera concealed inside, can stream live footage to a smartphone or tablet computer over Wi-fi.

In December last year, an employee of a property development company was jailed for three months for secretly filming people using the bathroom at a show home with a mobile phone hidden in a paper box, while last August a man received a two-month suspended jail term for taking videos up the skirts of women at an MTR station using a pinhole camera embedded in his shoe.

Last year, railway district police received 110 reports of women being secretly filmed from under their skirts, up from about 100 in 2012.

There have been about 30 reports of “upskirt” violations in the first four months of this year. No overall figures of criminal offences related to peeping in public places are kept.

Security secretary Lai advised the public to raise such concerns with the premises’ management.

Dr Elizabeth Quat, a Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker, said that difficulties in proving peeping cases means prosecutions and convictions are low.

There is currently no law in Hong Kong specifically against the secret taking of images. The action could constitute an offence under loitering laws, carrying a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment, or public order laws, with a maximum penalty of a fine and 12 months prison.

If a peeping Tom is found guilty of “outraging public decency”, a harder charge to prove, the maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment.

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This article is now closed to comments

53a422ab-515c-4eea-8d37-08d80a3209ca
I agree that no one should be subjected to this but, I hope that this does not hinder the creativity of the people who design such beautiful and imaginative structures. Then that would truly be a shame.
Instead of destroying creativity maybe become more aware or just take the elevator?
aaron.1choi@gmail.com
a little over zealous HK isn't it? if you are worried about peeping toms. don't stand by glass sidings. wear something less prone to peeping like pants/shorts, etc. this is preventable and not dependent on the design of the structure.
charles.barnard.969
"...being inadvertently exposed..."
Excuse me? They claim that this was 'unpredictable?'
mfchung
Here's an original idea, instead of blaming the rascals, how about not mincing about half naked in the first place?
crbfile
these pervs are harmless. everyone needs to get over themselves.
jenny@asian-emphasis.com
What about the glass staircase at the big Apple store in the IFC.
daily
HK designers are incompetent.............they try to make things look pretty with all the glass, without realizing the potential issues like these "peeping tom" ones............of course, they will just say it can be fixed with opaque tape or something of that sort.
skywalker
Yes, and opaque stickers make the bloody expensive glass designs looking so "nice"
giggsy72
Soooo, nothing about the stupidity of the designers?? Or the fact that during the consultation, design approval, construction process, etc, no-one seems to have been paying attention. Good to see that everyone's asleep at the wheel and no-one is taking any responsibility.
Situation normal, I guess.
clivehk
SNAFU

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