SINGAPORE, June 6 — To cover up his attempt to film a woman at his workplace toilet with a hidden mobile phone, a restaurant worker broke into three staff lockers to retrieve the device — after it had been discovered.

Mohamad Norhakim Mohd Ishkandar later lied to the police that he had set fire to the phone.

The 26-year-old Malaysian pleaded guilty on Wednesday (June 5) to one charge each of voyeurism and obstructing the course of justice.

He was given seven months and four weeks’ jail. His sentence was backdated to April 18 when he was first remanded.

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Two other charges, one of mischief for damaging the lockers and one for trespassing into the female toilet, were taken into consideration for sentencing.

His actions had been uncovered by a customer, who spotted the device while using the restaurant’s toilet.

The name of the victim cannot be published due to a court order protecting her identity.

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Device discovered in cubicle

The court heard that Norhakim was an assistant manager working at The Garage Restaurant at 50 Cluny Park, located in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, at the time of his offences.

On the evening of Sept 22, 2023 at around 6.56pm, Norhakim was caught trespassing into the female toilet at his workplace on closed circuit television footage.

He entered the toilet intending to use his mobile phone to record a video of females inside.

He placed his black iPhone 10 in one of the cubicles, between a sanitary bin and flowerpot, and adjusted the position of the camera so that it would capture toilet users. Then, he turned on the phone’s video recording function.

At about 8pm, the victim — a customer dining at the restaurant — entered the female toilet with her young son.

While in the cubicle, she noticed the phone and found that a video recording had been in progress for around 48 minutes.

She immediately took the phone and reported the matter to a female restaurant staff member, who took the device for safekeeping.

The staff member informed Norhakim of the incident, and he directed her to place the phone at the concierge, which was the designated “lost and found” corner of the restaurant.

Instead, the staff member kept the phone in one of the staff lockers, as she and her colleagues subsequently had grown suspicious of Norhakim. Court documents did not state the reasons for their suspicions.

Obstructing justice

After Norhakim’s shift ended at around midnight, he was the only one remaining in the restaurant. Aware that his phone had been transferred to a staff locker, he used a needle to forcefully open three lockers.

The three were damaged in the process and could not be relocked. Norhakim managed to retrieve his phone and booked a private hire ride to his home.

At the playground area of a public housing estate, court documents stated that Norhakim smashed the phone on the ground multiple times, breaking the screen and causing dents, which left the phone heavily damaged.

He then disposed of the phone in a green dustbin. However, during police investigations, Norhakim first told the police on Sept 24 that he had lit a fire in an incense bin and dumped the damaged phone inside.

When the police visited his house the next day, Norhakim recanted and admitted that he had not burnt the phone, but disposed of it at a green public dustbin at a housing block opposite a school. The police were unable to retrieve the phone.

Norhakim further admitted that this was not his first act of voyeurism, but his other victims could not be identified and the extent of his offending could not be determined, Deputy Public Prosecutor Joseph Gwee told the court.

For voyeurism, Norhakim could have been jailed for up to two years, be caned or fined, or face any combination of such punishments.

Those who obstruct the course of justice can be jailed for up to seven years. — TODAY