By BRYNA SIM
ARMED with small video cameras, they prowl shopping malls and lurk around MRT stations in Singapore.
|Photos: Screen grabs of the website sent in to citizen journalism website Stomp. The website has since removed these videos. [Click on thumbnail to view]
Their target: Young women in short skirts.
When they spot the women, usually alone, they follow closely behind until they find the perfect moment to shoot - up the skirts of the women.
The voyeurs' audacity does not stop there. They add lasting insult to the offence by posting the videos online, boasting to all about their success in catching their victims off guard.
The New Paper found 50 such "upskirt" videos and images on a blog site last Wednesday.
Five of these were uploaded this year and the rest in 2009.
The blog featured videos mostly said to be taken in Singapore, although several Asian adult videos were also available.
The term "upskirt" is used to describe videos or pictures taken of women with cameras pointed directly up their skirts.
Some of the images were also posted on popular online media portal Stomp last week by a netizen who was disturbed by such acts.
It is an offence in Singapore to take upskirt images or videos.
Confronted by The New Paper, the administrator of the blog site declined our request for an interview.
In response to our e-mail, the person said: "Thank you for your interest in our website.
"Sad to say, our website has been inactive for some time.
"With regards to your e-mail, we do not wish to be interviewed and we hope to remain as discreet as possible, as the Singapore public are not as accepting as foreigners to our contents within the website."
A day after we e-mailed the administrator, the "upskirt" videos and images were removed from the website.
Apart from the "upskirt" videos, there are also links to videos of people having sex posted on the website. Most are likely to have been lifted off other websites and do not seem to have been filmed in Singapore.
But the "upskirt" videos and images appear to have been taken at places in Singapore. The women look local and the labels of the videos and images also boasted Singapore locations. Viewers were urged to "enjoy the all SG (Singapore) favoured(sic) videos".
A typical label would read: "Upskirt at Toa Payoh escalator", or "Young Nurse upskirt taken at Jurong East MRT Station".
There were also videos taken at gift shops, pharmacies and supermarkets.
It appears that more than one person could have been involved in filming the videos.
The website had this paragraph: "Credits will be given to those who have shared the videos and indicated that they want to be credited."
A typical video showed how the culprit first spots a victim, who might be walking or shopping. The culprit then tails the woman closely.
The video would end when the culprit succeeds in capturing an image of the victim's underwear. Each video lasted from 30 seconds to more than a minute.
Most of the women looked to be in their late teens or 20s.
While most victims were alone, some culprits were brazen enough to target those who were with boyfriends or husbands.
Most of the women captured were wearing short skirts.