A student has admitted to filming naked men getting dressed in a men’s changing room at a swimming pool in Hong Kong.
Lo Pui-hong, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of outraging public decency during his appearance at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Apple Daily reports that the incident in question happened at the Kwai Shing Swimming Pool in Kwai Chung on Aug. 12, 2018.
Lo, a kitchen hand, walked into the men’s locker room with his smartphone in his pocket, with phone’s camera lens protruding slightly.
He was caught after a member of pool staff noticed Lo acting suspiciously, and saw his smartphone had videos of naked men with a background similar to the inside of the male locker room.
The newspaper reports that Lo, after being found out, begged the staff member not to call the police and asked if he’d be let off the hook if he deleted the videos.
Officers arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and found eight videos of naked men taken in the locker room.
In a mitigating statement to the court, the defense said that Lo was aware that he needed help, and after the incident went to Caritas — an NGO that provides relief and rehabilitation services — and took part in their program to rehabilitate sex offenders.
Defense counsel went onto add that Lo didn’t realize that he was committing a crime, that he was embarrassed by his actions, and that the chances of him re-offending were very low.
The outlet reports that Lo appeared in court on his own, and that his family doesn’t know about the charges.
The magistrate postponed sentencing until July 17, pending a social service and psychologist report, and Lo was released on bail.
In Hong Kong, those who are found guilty of taking “upskirt” or other explicit photos of someone without their consent are typically charged with “obtaining access to a computer for criminal or dishonest gain.”
The charge was introduced in the early 90s to combat cybercrime, but since then has become a catchall used to prosecute people for a number of smartphone-related crimes, including leaking exam questions and even leaving provocative comments on social media posts.
In April, the Court of Final Appeal ruled that the charge of “obtaining access to a computer for criminal or dishonest gain,” shouldn’t apply to a person’s own phone or computer. The ruling by Hong Kong’s highest court meant that the Department of Justice had to re-evaluate 13 cases that were put on hold.
At the end of April, the Law Reform Commission also urged the authorities to establish new laws on voyeurism and upskirting in order to plug the legal loopholes stemming from the ruling.