The Taipei District Court yesterday sentenced Chang Tzu-yen (張子彥) to six years in prison for placing hidden cameras in school and public toilets to secretly film women and girls, as well as circulating the recordings.
Two years of the sentence can be commuted to a fine and the ruling can be appealed.
Prosecutors had asked for a harsh punishment as a deterrent after an investigation found that Chang, 26, secretly filmed more than 160 girls and women mainly in Taipei and New Taipei City.
The court said that it found Chang, a recent graduate of the National Taipei University of Technology, guilty of violating the personal privacy of the victims.
Investigators had found the videos stored in Chang’s computer and tried to identify the victims, including junior-high school students and university students, as well as a police officer.
Forty of the victims filed judicial complaints against Chang.
During the court hearing, one of victims testified that she suffered mental anguish and has been afraid of going to public toilets since the incident.
One victim was quoted as saying: “When the video was shown to me, it felt like I was being raped. This man is a pervert.”
Another at the court hearing said: “I feel quite sick seeing Chang here in court. He must receive a heavy punishment for what he has done... Now I need a friend to accompany me when I use a public toilet.”
Investigators found that Chang started secretly filming women and girls in 2015.
He was caught in April 2018 when a cleaner found a hidden camera, including memory cards, inside a women’s restroom at National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Medicine.
The camera was traced to Chang and police in a search of his apartment in New Taipei City found more explicit videos of unidentified women in his computer.
Investigators examining the footage determined that Chang had sneaked into women’s restrooms on the NTU campus and other Taipei universities, as well as Taipei First Girls’ High School and Taipei Zhongshan Girls’ High School.
He also placed cameras inside the public bathrooms of city government buildings in Taipei and New Taipei City, they said.
Chang rated the women in the videos according to their attractiveness, and tracked some of them through social media to learn their identities, investigators said.
He allegedly followed them and took their photographs for his categorized video files, they said.
Investigators found that Chang had passed on the videos to at least two of his friends for their viewing.
They also found Chang followed high-school dance clubs’ social media pages to find out where they were practicing and installed hidden cameras inside the bathrooms at those locations.
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