Home » Singapore envoy caught sneaking photos of naked boy walks free
Asia Global News News

Singapore envoy caught sneaking photos of naked boy walks free

A counselor at the Singaporean Embassy in Tokyo admitted to taking secret photos of naked males, including a minor, at “sento” public bathhouses, but he escaped punishment because of diplomatic immunity, police sources said.

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department questioned the Singaporean national, 55, at a bathhouse in Tokyo’s Minato Ward after he was caught using his smartphone to photograph a naked underage male student in a changing room on Feb. 27.

Officers checked the man’s phone and found multiple photos of nude males that appeared to have been taken inside the changing room.

Police quoted the man, who described himself as a diplomat, as saying, “I have definitely taken the pictures.”

When the boy’s guardian asked that the photos in question be deleted, the diplomat complied at the scene.

He also told the officers that he had taken similar photos at other public bathhouses. He then deleted about 700 pictures he had shot secretly over six months or so, the sources said.

A security camera at the Tokyo bathhouse caught the Singaporean pointing his smartphone at another male customer.

He told the officers, “I don’t know why I did this” and “I regret it,” the sources said.

The officers asked the man to accompany them to a police station, but he refused to go, saying, “I will answer any questions here.”

He was allowed to leave the scene because diplomats have the privilege of being exempt, in principle, from arrests and trials in overseas countries.

No follow-up interviews were conducted, and what appeared to be a slam-dunk case has stalled.

The MPD is in discussions with the Foreign Ministry and the National Police Agency to ask the embassy to have the man turn himself in for questioning.

Tokyo police are also considering sending the case to prosecutors, accusing the man of indecently photographing a minor’s body parts.

The embassy on May 2 told The Asahi Shimbun that the man “completed his assignment as of April 12 and has returned to Singapore.” It added that it “doesn’t know” about the bathhouse incident.

A senior police officer explained the difficulties in dealing with envoys in criminal cases.

“When people come forward and identify themselves as diplomats, police cannot arrest them in the end, even if they voluntarily submit to questioning. Police officers know this. Therefore, they refrain from asking them to accompany them to (a police station),” the officer said.


Envoys are granted a number of privileges under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, including “diplomatic immunity” from prosecution and physical restraint in criminal cases.

They are usually not charged even if they directly cause an incident or accident in the country where they are stationed.

In 2006, Tokyo police investigated an Indian Embassy official over allegations he committed an indecent act against a Japanese woman who came to the embassy to apply for a visa.

Police obtained an arrest warrant on suspicion of indecent assault, but the man had already returned to India.

In 2014, police arrested Japanese employees and others for operating and profiting from an illegal casino in a building in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.

The room where the casino was set up had been rented by the then Ghanaian ambassador to Japan.

The suspects reportedly believed that police would never bust the casino because of the ambassador’s diplomatic immunity.

In 2020, Tokyo police sent a former Russian diplomat to prosecutors on suspicion of abetting in a leak of confidential information from SoftBank Corp. in violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.

Police believed the former diplomat had been engaged in espionage activities.

However, prosecutors dropped the case.

Tokyo police, through the Foreign Ministry, twice asked the former diplomat to appear in court, but the Russian did not respond and left Japan.

The Foreign Ministry in May 2021 implemented preventive measures after several complaints emerged that diplomats were illegally parking their vehicles, identified by blue license plates, and failing to pay the fines.

Source: Asahi