Father of two took compromising shots of women, including colleagues, for 18 years

Wong Shiying
The Straits Times
Dec 14, 2023

A serial voyeur who preyed on women for 18 years has been sentenced to three years’ jail, in what the prosecution described as an extraordinary case deserving of an extraordinary sentence.

Lee Lien Shuan, an IT director of a firm in the construction industry, took compromising photos and videos of at least 52 women, and attached photos of his victims’ faces to his collection.

The 49-year-old was on Dec 14 convicted of 10 charges of voyeurism. Another 42 similar charges were taken into account for his sentencing.

Most of the victims in Lee’s proceeded charges were his then colleagues, whom he filmed in an office between 2017 and 2018. He captured images of his other victims between 2002 and 2020.

There is a gag order protecting the identities of his victims and their company.

Lee, who said he has two children, had asked for the gag order to be extended to him. But this was rejected by District Judge Wong Peck.

The court heard that Lee kept upskirt and down-blouse media of his victims in organised folders.

Media of his colleagues were titled “Colleagues”, and those of women he secretly recorded in the Central Business District were titled “SG Office Lady”.

He made collages of these images and paired them with pictures of the victims’ faces, which he either took himself or found on Facebook. He also added a watermark of his online moniker “colour watcher” to some of these collages.

He came up with a naming convention for these collages. For example, if the material was an upskirt video of a woman named Sarah, he would name it “sarah uppie”. 

Lee trimmed the videos to focus on the victims’ faces and upskirt footage. He would sometimes add the watermark “60tt0mup”, which Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin said is Internet terminology for “bottom up” – a reference to upskirt content.

Lee added watermarks to the photos and videos with the intention of disseminating them online, the court heard.

Lee posted on online forums and sent messages to other Internet users to trade voyeuristic content, but ultimately did not do so for fear of being caught by the authorities.

His offences came to light when a victim spotted him taking an upskirt video of her as she was riding an escalator at Marina Bay Link Mall in January 2020.

She was wearing a dress and had felt Lee brush against her calf.

Lee fled when she shouted for help and was pursued by a male passer-by who, together with a security officer, restrained Lee.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Lee tried to delete previously recorded upskirt media from his phone. The security officer saw him doing so and took his phone away from him.

After his arrest, Lee lied to the police, saying he did not take the upskirt photos and videos but downloaded them from the Internet. The police found he had 77 collages and six upskirt videos in his Google Photos album.

Seeking at least three years’ jail, DPP Bin told the court that there was a high degree of premeditation and planning in Lee’s actions as he targeted specific victims over multiple occasions.

“He labelled (the voyeuristic content) with victims’ names in order to ensure maximum identifiability. He also maintained different folders to delineate upskirt media of strangers and those of acquaintances,” he added.

DPP Bin said there was a severe breach of trust in Lee’s case as some of his victims were colleagues whom he filmed within shared office premises.

He added that even after the accused was caught red-handed, he repeatedly attempted to evade detection, first by running away, then by deleting previously recorded upskirt media, before lying to the police repeatedly.

In justifying the sentence he sought for Lee, the DPP said he is “fully cognisant of the fact that the sentence sought is well above the normal level of sentencing for such offences”, adding that the maximum punishment is one or two years’ jail for each of the voyeurism offences Lee committed.

“The prosecution’s proposed global sentence has therefore surpassed the maximum sentence for these charges. However, extraordinary cases call for extraordinary sentences,” said DPP Bin.

He added: “This position is fortified by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who stated (in a judgment) that the normal maximum level of sentence is not of great utility in exceptionally serious cases, such as this.”

In mitigation, Lee said he is his family’s sole breadwinner. He added that he is remorseful and pleaded for a lighter sentence.

Lee asked the judge to extend the gag order to conceal his identity from the media.

He said he had worked in the same company for 15 years and “it would not be difficult to connect his name to the company and the victims who worked there”.

In response, DPP Bin said the gag order serves to protect the identity of victims and not offenders. The judge agreed with the prosecution and denied his request.

For intruding on the privacy of a woman with the intention of insulting her modesty, an offender can be jailed for up to a year, fined, or both. For intentionally observing someone doing an intimate or private act without his or her consent, an offender can be jailed for up to two years, fined and caned.

The Straits Times

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