A 52-year-old man was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail on Monday (May 15) for insulting the modesty of his 28-year-old Indonesian maid.
Paul Kwan, a Canadian citizen working in Singapore, installed a miniature video camera in kitchen toilet which was used only by the maid. It captured her using the toilet and bathing on three occasions in July and August last year, when no one else was at home.
He pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts for insulting the woman’s modesty.
Kwan placed the camera at the bottom of a three-tiered shelf next to the toilet bowl, then used adhesive blu-tack to mount it on the bathroom wall. To make sure it was hidden, he put the camera behind a window scraper on the floor, fit the lens into a hole in the scraper and angled it towards the shower stall.
The maid was captured half or fully nude on three occasions: On Jul 28 and 29 and again on Aug 1, 2016. The videos were about six minutes to more than 17 minutes long. Each time, Kwan would wait for the woman to go to bed before retrieving the camera and downloading the footage.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew Xin Ying said Kwan had deliberately preyed on the maid when no other family members were at home. He was left alone with the woman from Jul 25 until Aug 2, when his son was due to return home from an overseas trip.
On Aug 1 at about 8am, the victim found the camera as she was cleaning the bathroom. She packed her belongings, took the camera and headed straight for the maid agency. The maid agent called the police.
DPP Chew urged the court to sentence Kwan to 12 weeks’ jail, citing the “grave intrusion of privacy” of a vulnerable victim.
In mitigation, Kwan’s lawyer Amarjit Singh said Kwan had cooperated fully with the authorities and is “deeply remorseful”. Kwan has also apologised to the maid, who accepted the apology, Mr Singh said.
Kwan is a “good man, husband and father”, and the case has “hit him hard emotionally and financially”, the lawyer said.
In sentencing Kwan to 12 weeks’ jail, District Judge Samuel Chua said “foreign domestic workers are entitled to work in a safe environment without fear of having their privacy intruded by members of the household they are working in”.
For insulting the modesty of a woman, Kwan could have been jailed for up to 18 months per charge and fined.