Doctor who took more than 3,200 upskirt videos deletes medical registry

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SINGAPORE: A doctor who had shot more than 3,200 upskirt videos was removed from the medical register in July, a Singapore Medical Council (SMC) disciplinary court said.

On Tuesday (Sept. 20), the tribunal said the strike order against Chu Ben Wee “would not only be proportionate” to the seriousness of his violations, but would also be “necessary to be a strong deterrent.”

“We had to ask ourselves whether the reputation of the profession would be jeopardized if the public found out that a professional who has committed these crimes so many times, after a disciplinary hearing,” they said.

A strike order removes a doctor from the official register, meaning that he is no longer allowed to practice his profession.

Chu was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2020 after being convicted of four charges of outrage of modesty for shooting upskirt videos of women wearing a shoe he modified to hide a GoPro camera.

He took the videos in places such as hospitals, shopping malls and junior colleges – including an incident where he wore a uniform to pose as a student at a career fair at Victoria Junior College (VJC) while on bail.

He was arrested three times in total.

In view of his criminal offenses, the SMC has proposed to remove Chu’s name from the register of doctors, as well as to pay the costs and expenses associated with the proceedings, including attorneys’ fees before the Council.

Chu refuted in his softening plea that a 13-month suspension — with “the other usual follow-up orders” — is “fair and appropriate.” His lawyer also suggested a 13 to 14 month suspension.

“PRE-PROCESSED AND COMPREHENSIVE WAY” OF ABUSE

However, the tribunal said in its statement that there were factors in his case that have damaged public confidence in the medical professions.

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They noted that he recorded the videos at least 630 times, compounded by the fact that the facts took place in multiple locations and over a long period of time. It was also highlighted that he had reoffended twice after being arrested for the first time in January 2018.

In their submissions, lawyers for the SMC said Chu’s actions had “serious consequences because they seriously erode public confidence in the medical profession because of the sheer number of victims, potential harm inflicted on those victims, and that the victims among the students were in a junior college within their own school campus”.

They also pointed to the “premeditated and elaborate manner” in which he recorded the videos to avoid detection.

The tribunal had taken into account the “scale and nature” of Chu’s actions when issuing the injunction and recognized that the offenses were committed in both a professional and public setting.

“We were deeply concerned by the extent of the deception he used to control his criminal activities,” the tribunal said.

They noted that the methods he used “demonstrated extreme sophistication” to allow him to record the videos and avoid detection and punishment.

“What particularly disturbed us was that after his arrest on January 18, 2018 and while investigations are ongoing, (Chu) not only did his criminal behavior not stop, he continued to perpetuate it,” the tribunal said, adding that his lack of self-awareness and insight led to his second arrest.

“Unfortunately, (his) behavior did not stop even after he was released on bail. Just three months later… it turned out that he had devised an extremely complicated ruse to get himself into a junior college undetected.

The tribunal pointed to the pre-planning he had taken to buy a uniform and equipment, as well as choosing the day of the career fair “because it would be easy for him to enter the school and go unnoticed.” move”.

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Chu not only failed to “express regrets early on”, but let his urges get the better of him and continued to insult, escalating into the incident at VJC.

The tribunal added that Chu’s actions showed that he “lacked insight” as he had ample opportunity to reflect on his behavior and seek help to control his urges after his first two arrests.

While they acknowledged that he may feel there is a stigma attached to seeking psychiatric help, they disagreed that there is “sufficient justification” for not doing so between arrests.

“If he knew it was a problem, he could and should have sought help early on,” they said. “Instead, he allowed his misbehavior to escalate, which was extremely unfortunate.”

However, the tribunal said the strike order does not mean the end of Chu’s medical career, adding that three years after the date of his removal, he could apply to have his name reinstated on the registry.

ARRESTED THREE TIMES

Chu was first arrested on January 18, 2018 at Novena Square 2 shopping mall, where he used his shoe to shoot an upskirt video. Police found at least 2,900 upskirt videos on Chu’s devices during a house search the following day, including several taken at two hospitals.

They also confiscated his custom shoes — a black Decathlon pair with a small hole on the right side — and a camera.

On April 27, 2019, while still under investigation for previous crimes, he was arrested again in Plaza Singapura for using a GoPro camera hidden in his shoe to record upskirt videos. Police seized several of Chu’s items, including an iPhone, the GoPro, the shoes and a memory card.

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He was arrested again for the same crime on July 31 at VJC while he was out on bail. He had bought a VJC t-shirt with a crew neck and long pants to disguise himself as a student and took 97 upskirt videos of students using a camera in his shoe.

He was caught after two students pointed out to a teacher. A group of teachers found him behind the school hall, claiming to be from the Department of Defense and manning a booth at the career fair. After further questioning, he changed his answer and said he was just a visitor.

Teachers called the police, who questioned Chu. He then claimed that he was just there to attend the career fair and wore the VJC attire so as not to stand out.

SMC’s lawyers argued that Chu’s case was “high” due to his deliberate and deliberate state of mind.

However, Chu’s attorney argued several mitigating factors, namely that he pleaded guilty “at the earliest opportunity” and cooperated fully with the investigation and disciplinary proceedings.

He also noted that Chu suffers from paraphilic disorder, specifically voyeuristic disorder, which two doctors agreed on.

He had “never stopped seeking treatment” and sees the prison psychologist weekly. In addition, Chu is “practising medication and continuing his research into further steps he can take to address his condition,” his attorney said.

However, the tribunal disagreed with Chu’s lawyer, who said: that there was only moderate damage because Chu “recognized that his violations would undermine public confidence in the medical profession” and because “no patients were involved and no actual injury or damage was caused.”

“We found this argument to be both flippant and factually flawed,” they said.

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