Crimes involving upskirting, spycams and hidden cameras need stricter laws and harsher punishments

A student at the National University of Singapore, who was filmed while taking a shower, wants real consequences for people that commit such acts

Belinda Ng |

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Women still do not feel safe, as “spy gadgets” used by men have become more sophisticated and harder to spot.

An incident involving a “peeping Tom” was recently publicised on social media by a female student at the National University of Singapore (NUS). A peeping Tom is someone who spies on a person when they are not fully dressed or naked.

Monica Baey noticed that she was being filmed while taking a late-night shower in her hostel bathroom. She reported the matter to the police who gave the offender, a male student, a 12-month conditional warning, while NUS suspended him for a semester, banned him from entering campus residences, and asked him to write an apology letter.

Baey, 23, believes the punishment is too lenient. Her views have been echoed by victims of spycam porn in South Korea who say that not enough is being done to crack down on acts that violate women.

This is a very serious issue, especially for university students, many of whom live in shared residential halls for four years, or even more. Undoubtedly, it is the university’s responsibility to ensure the students are safe and impose heavy punishment on perpetrators that commit such acts.

Baey, a third-year communications student, is right when she says it is important for the NUS to “provide a set of visible consequences for anyone who commits any sexual misappropriation acts again”.

According to the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong, the viewing of internet pornography among teenagers and young adults has increased in the city. There is a similar trend in other parts of the world. I believe that education and, if required, psychological counselling should be provided to tackle the situation.

In the case of Baey, she saw a mobile phone peeking out from below her cubicle door. But there is an increasing tendency for “spy gadgets” to be hidden in places where it is harder to spot.

Fears about upskirt filming in Hong Kong have forced the PMQ arts hub and the Central Library to install panels and opaque stickers on glass staircases and walls.

But a lot of people who commit such crimes in this city continue to escape punishment. It is a real tragedy that even in this so-called modern age, women still do not feel safe, whether they are in a dormitory shower or a public place.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne

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