Ex-NUS student admits to taking photos of 2 female students showering in campus toilet

Wan Ting Koh
Ryan You Jun Chao leaving the State Courts on Friday (28 January). (Photo: Wan Ting Koh/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A former National University of Singapore student on Friday (28 February) admitted to photographing two fellow female students as they showered in a residential hall toilet on campus. 

Ryan You Jun Chao, 25, pleaded guilty to two counts of insulting the modesty of the two female students, both 23, in February and March last year, and will have two counts of trespassing into the toilet taken into account when he is sentenced. 

Both victims cannot be named due to a gag order. 

On 14 February last year, You woke up and felt tempted to check if there were any women showering in the common female toilet. He found the main door of the common female toilet held open by a door stopper and heard showering sounds.

He entered the toilet, took out his mobile phone and switched it to the camera mode before holding it over the cubicle partition to photograph the victim. 

The victim saw a shadow outside the cubicle, looked up and saw the mobile phone. She shouted and pushed the mobile phone away. You panicked and fled into the male toilet. 

On 8 March, You repeated his actions. He entered the toilet after hearing showering sounds and took photographs of another victim showering. This victim also noticed a shadow outside her cubicle and saw part of You’s hair above the cubicle door. 

She wrapped herself in a towel and waited until others entered the common female toilet before she felt safe enough to resume showering. 

By this point, You had left the toilet to check the photographs in the pantry. The victim noticed You at the pantry after she had finished her shower. She later told investigators that she has since avoided using the common female toilet as she felt uncomfortable and unsafe.

The first victim and second victim lodged police reports on 7 and 8 March respectively.

Court documents did not state how You was caught. During investigations, he admitted to deleting the photographs before giving his phone to the police. The photographs recovered from his phone showed the victims were fully nude.

The prosecution said that You was not a young offender and had brazenly trespassed into the female toilet to commit offences. 

In light of an increasing number of voyeuristic offences in university, Deputy Public Prosecutor Pavithra Ramkumar asked for a deterrent sentence of eight weeks’ jail. 

She noted that You had tried to apologise to the victims but added that he should not have contacted the victims and distressed them. 

Lawyer Raphael Louis asked for a short detention order or a fine for his client. Arguing for his client to be given a chance to rehabilitated, the lawyer said his client has done well in school and is still undergoing counselling sessions. You had also expressed remorse at an early stage, the defence lawyer said. 

“All we’re asking the court is to give my client a second chance. We’re not asking to go soft on him. Given his age and his potential to do well in life, I will submit public interest not only calls for a deterrent sentence, it also begs the question - what’s the best thing for (You)?,” asked the lawyer. 

“Does the public want him to do well in life, be given a second chance?”

You will return to court for his sentencing hearing on 20 March. 

In response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore, an NUS spokesperson said the NUS Board of Discipline convened an inquiry in April 2019 on You’s alleged offences. The board imposed sanctions on You including suspension, deferred graduation, mandatory counselling and rehabilitation sessions, all of which are in his formal educational record at NUS.

“NUS takes a strong stand against any form of sexual misconduct. The University has enhanced the disciplinary framework for sexual misconduct offences, as well as safety and security measures. It is also providing greater support for victims, and training for all staff and students to build a culture of respect,” the spokesperson said.

You has served out the sanctions imposed by NUS and has since graduated, the spokesperson added.

His offences happened before NUS announced in June last year that it would toughen the sanctions for sexual offences committed by its students including expulsion for more severe cases.

For insulting the modesty of a woman, You can be jailed up to one year, or fined, or both, on each count.

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