A police report has been made after multiple new Telegram chat groups have emerged with the purpose of sharing photos and videos of Singaporean women and girls without their consent and knowledge.
The police confirmed on March 30 that investigations are ongoing.
In a Facebook post on the same day, the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) said these groups appear to be offshoots of the high-profile but now-defunct SG Nasi Lemak group that was brought to light in 2019.
What images showed
Some of the media shared in these groups are obscene as the subjects are nude, while others are pictures of TikTok video clips of girls in secondary school or junior college uniforms, female commuters on public transport, as well as selfies of women.
The usernames of those captured in the media are also shared on Telegram.
More than 10 such groups found
The Straits Times said it found more than 10 such groups with most having about 2,000 members each.
Some groups had more than 7,000 subscribers.
Over 500 photographs and video clips were in shared in some groups.
Groups surfaced for police to investigate
The police report was filed by National University of Singapore (NUS) student Nisha Rai, 21.
She found out about such groups by chance on Twitter and reported them to the police on March 24.
She has also created an online petition calling for the police to shut down these groups.
More than 1,600 people had signed the petition by March 31 morning.
Rai is a member of the Students for a Safer NUS, a group that advocates for a safer environment on campus.
It posted a statement on social media on March 20 to inform students about the reemergence of the groups on Telegram.
Victims provided with support
Rai, acting on her own alongside 20 others, have helped to uncover almost 60 such groups, ST reported.
She and the others helping out have reached out to 30 victims to provide them with emotional support.
Rai told ST: "It's so disgusting. The pictures sent are of adults and minors. It was very hurtful to see such content circulating, and the worst part was the victims were not aware or were afraid to reach out."
Punishment not a deterrent
Aware said on March 30 that these new groups reemerging is not surprising given that only a handful of SG Nasi Lemak members were arrested.
Aware wrote in a Facebook post: "This rash of new groups is not surprising in the least. After all, SG Nasi Lemak at its peak had around 44,000 members, only a handful of whom were arrested. It seemed safe to assume that those who had not suffered any repercussions would simply continue elsewhere."
In October 2019, four men were arrested for their involvement in SG Nasi Lemak.
The Telegram group was created in November 2018 and had about 44,000 members and 29 administrators.
One of the administrators, Liong Tianwei, 39, was jailed for nine weeks and fined S$26,000 on March 9.
Two other men, Justin Lee Han Shi, 20, and an unnamed teenager, 18, were given a year's probation and must each perform 40 hours of community service, with their parents putting up a S$5,000 to ensure their good behaviour.
The case against Leonard Teo Min Xuan, 27, is before the courts.
Those convicted of transmitting or possessing obscene material can be jailed for up to three months or fined, or receive both penalties.
Those convicted of possessing obscene films can be jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$20,000, or both.