A couple in Singapore has been fined $17,000 after a revealing video they uploaded to a private Telegram channel spread online.
Nguyen Thi Anh Thy, 30, and Jeffrey Chue Tze Jeong, 50, were charged with violating Singapore’s laws on nudity and obscenity for sharing sexually suggestive images and videos of Nguyen, including one where she reveals her breast outside a shopping mall in central Singapore in May 2020.
In the clip, which Chue recorded, Nguyen is seen wearing a spaghetti-strap top and short shorts while walking outside the mall. After checking their surroundings, she removes her top to expose one of her breasts to Chue.
Chue uploaded the clip in the supposedly private Telegram group they created for people who participate in partner swapping and group sex activities.
The pair charged $19 a month and $52 for three months for full access to the content on their Telegram channel. After more new members joined the group, the video and other erotic images were eventually spread outside the platform and became widely shared online.
The pair, who were also convicted of providing and abetting false information, shared that they were forced to sell their belongings to settle their fine in full.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
During the hearing, Chue admitted that he is to blame for the incident, calling it “a stupid mistake.”
Chue was fined 14,000 Singapore dollars (approximately $10,400) after pleading guilty to three charges of conspiring to take photos of his nude wife in public, uploading obscene images to Twitter and obstructing justice by claiming he had lost his phone.
Meanwhile, Nguyen was fined 9,000 Singapore dollars (approximately $7,000) after pleading guilty to two charges of appearing nude in public and obstructing the course of justice.
District judge Janet Wang highlighted in her ruling it was “irrelevant that the platform caters to consenting parties and that the objection lies in the obscene nature of the materials being disseminated.”
Feeling they were severely punished, the couple moved to Nguyen’s hometown of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in November, a month after their conviction.
While they are now having difficulties finding work in Vietnam due to their high-profile case, both Chue and Nguyen no longer have plans of returning back to Singapore. The couple lamented that their alternative lifestyle has been negatively viewed as a form of perversion.
A number of Chue and Nguyen’s supporters have spoken against the couple’s charges online, with many questioning why such activity between two consenting adults is even criminalized in the first place.
“We didn’t do what we did at the expense of anyone,” Chue told The New York Times
. “Our point is, what they’ve done to us — do we deserve this?”
The pair said they found it absurd that they were penalized for sharing images while prostitution is allowed in Singapore in a regulated district. Local rights advocates have since urged the Singaporean government to look into using consent to determine what activity constitutes as illegal in cases involving sexual acts.
Singapore is known to impose strict penalties for violations, particularly those that involve public safety and conservative moral views.
In 2022, content creator Titus Low was fined $2,200 for uploading risqué content on the platform OnlyFans, a site where subscribers pay a fee to gain access to exclusive content, including sexually explicit photos. Similarly, a man was fined $1,900 in 2009 for being in the nude inside his own apartment while in full view of his neighbors.