Allegations Against Prominent Academics: Former SUTD Director and NUS Deputy Director Charged with Upskirt Video Offenses and Cheating

In a shocking development, 53-year-old Foo Siang Chi, a former director at the Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD) and a deputy director at the National University of Singapore (NUS), faced a litany of charges on Thursday, November 23. The charges against him include allegations of cheating and voyeurism-related offenses that have sent shockwaves through the academic community.

The charges against Foo Siang Chi are both diverse and disturbing, with a total of five leveled against him. The accusations range from cheating, involving the non-disclosure of funds for gambling, to the reprehensible act of taking upskirt photos and videos of women. Additionally, Foo is charged with the possession of obscene films, further complicating the legal landscape surrounding his case.

His alleged cheating transgressions unfolded between April and July 2015 when he purportedly deceived his then-supervisor, borrowing a substantial sum of at least S$205,500 (US$153,000) without disclosing the true purpose—funding his gambling habits. Foo's involvement with the National University of Singapore and later the Singapore University of Technology & Design adds an additional layer of concern, given the positions of authority he held.

The voyeurism charges, spanning between April 2018 and March 2020, claim that Foo took upskirt photos and videos of women on at least 31 occasions. Further exacerbating the situation, he is alleged to have possessed two obscene videos downloaded from a pornographic website on his mobile phone between September 2019 and December 2020.

In response to inquiries, SUTD's chief communications officer, Tammy Tan, stated that the university had not received any complaints about Foo's conduct during his employment from February 1, 2019, to January 31, 2022. She noted that Foo voluntarily resigned on January 31, 2022, and emphasized the university's zero-tolerance policy for illegal acts, affirming their commitment to taking firm action against offenders.

The National University of Singapore indicated that Foo's employment was terminated in August 2018 following internal investigations into the cheating allegations. The university expressed a stern stance on staff misconduct, emphasizing the seriousness with which they address such matters.

As Foo Siang Chi faces the legal ramifications of these charges, the potential penalties loom large. If convicted of cheating, he could face a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. Charges related to insulting a woman's modesty carry the potential for a year of imprisonment, fines, or both. Voyeurism convictions could result in up to two years in jail and fines. Notably, as Foo is above 50, he is exempt from caning. For possessing obscene films, the possible penalties include a one-year jail term, fines up to S$40,000, or both. The gravity of these charges underscores the severe consequences awaiting Foo Siang Chi if found guilty.

In conclusion, the charges against Foo Siang Chi, a former director at the Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD) and a deputy director at the National University of Singapore (NUS), paint a disturbing picture of alleged misconduct and criminal activities. The diverse range of charges, including cheating, voyeurism, and the possession of obscene materials, reflects a serious breach of trust and ethical standards, especially considering his positions of authority within esteemed educational institutions.

The impact of these allegations extends beyond individual actions, prompting both SUTD and NUS to emphasize their commitment to maintaining a zero-tolerance policy for illegal acts and addressing staff misconduct promptly. The fact that Foo Siang Chi resigned voluntarily from SUTD in January 2022 adds another layer of complexity to the narrative, leaving questions about the timing and motivations behind his departure.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the potential severe penalties for the charges, including lengthy jail terms and substantial fines, underscore the gravity of the situation. The case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of upholding ethical standards in positions of authority, particularly within educational institutions that play a crucial role in shaping future generations.

The outcome of this legal process will not only determine Foo Siang Chi's fate but will also have broader implications for the reputation of the academic institutions involved. It underscores the imperative for institutions to remain vigilant in addressing potential misconduct, ensuring the trust and safety of their academic communities.