“Unworkable” to tackle voyeur crimes by regulating sale of spy & hidden cameras, says K Shanmugam
The government will focus instead on toughening the law.
With new technology comes new crimes, like the rise in peeping tom cases and other voyeuristic spy and hidden-camera cases in recent years:
In response to this disturbing trend, Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh asked in Parliament if there was a need to regulate the sale and use of spy or hidden cameras.
“Unworkable” to ban spy/hidden cameras as mobile phone cameras can also be concealed: K Shanmugam
In a written reply on Nov. 19, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said the authorities take these kinds of offences seriously, but banning spy or hidden cameras altogether is “unworkable”.
Said Minister Shanmugam:
“It is quite unworkable to try and deal with the problem by banning spy cameras and hidden cameras. Mobile phones also come with cameras, and they can also be concealed to take secret photos or videos.”
Instead, he says, the government’s comprehensive review of the Penal Code, the first since 2007, will specifically look at tackling the rise in voyeuristic crimes.
The proposed changes include introducing new offences relating to the making, distribution, possession, and accessing of voyeuristic recordings.
People found guilty of the above will be liable to imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both, and caning.
Voyeur crimes to have stronger punishments
These proposed punishments are more severe than under current laws.
Presently, those found guilty of using spy or hidden cameras to insult someone’s modesty are liable to imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine, or both.
The Penal Code is likely to be amended early next year. Said Minister Shanmugam:
“We will increase the penalties and add new offences to try and deter the commission of such acts.”
One of its areas of focus is tackling the rise of new crime trends, like voyeurism and other predatory offences.
According to Channel NewsAsia, an average of 100 up-skirt crimes have been filed by the Police every year since 2013.
On average, there have been 500 cases of insult of modesty every year since 2015.
Top image adapted from @mattseymour from Unsplash.