SINGAPORE — A man who developed a liking for a woman confessed his feelings to her but was rejected.
Over the next year, Ong Jing Xiang would stalk his love interest, going to the extent of trespassing into her room and then gaining illicit access to her Telegram account by obtaining a verification code from her mobile phone.
He then keyed the code into the Telegram application on his own phone and began reading her private messages.
Ong, 26, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail on Thursday (11 November). He had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of stalking and one count of unauthorised access to computer material. One count of criminal trespass was taken into consideration for his sentencing.
At the time the offences, Ong, then 24, was a student at the National University of Singapore.
The victim, then 20 years old, cannot be named due to a court-imposed gag order. Details that might lead to her identification also cannot be reported.
Ong got to know the victim in 2017. The next year, he developed feelings for the victim, who did not reciprocate.
When the woman began dating another man in January 2019, Ong perceived the three of them to be in a love triangle.
He began monitoring her status on a messaging application and told her not to respond to her boyfriend’s messages. He also demanded that she read his messages. He told her that his boyfriend was “not the right person” for her.
In response, the woman said she need not explain herself to him, and that it was not for him to say if her boyfriend was right for her.
Ong became more obsessive in November 2019, counting the number of times the woman and her boyfriend were online at the same time. He also began to demand that she reply to his messages immediately upon receiving them. He wanted to know what she was doing from the moment she woke up to right before she slept.
When the woman went for a holiday the next month, he left her more than 60 missed calls and 100 messages. He even called a friend who was travelling with her, but the friend ignored him.
In January last year, Ong began stalking the victim at her on-campus residence, showing up when she failed to reply to his texts.
When she asked him to stop harassing her, Ong threatened to visit her room. When the victim went to the toilet one day, he trespassed into her room, took her mobile phone and sent a verification code to her phone. He then applied this code to the Telegram application on his own phone. He then gained access to her Telegram account and began reading her private messages around 30 January last year.
He then started harassing her, showing that he knew the contents of the chat groups that she was in.
When the victim asked how he knew about the messages, he replied, “I have my ways to see it” and made even more specific references to private messages. He then told the victim to “unblock and unrestrict” him from social media as he could still read her messages.
On February last year, he again entered her room and stole a thumbdrive. He asked the woman to stop contacting her boyfriend and another friend in order to get her thumbdrive back. The victim agreed.
She filed a formal complaint with NUS. However, Ong continued to stalk her from March and July last year. He claimed that he would watch her “more and more” and also sent her more messages even when she did not reply.
He only stopped contacting her when a No-Contact order was issued by NUS on 1 August last year.
For stalking, Ong could have been jailed up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or both. For unauthorised access to computer material, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined up $5,000, or both.
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