On 10 September, a 34-year-old businessman from Kagawa prefecture, Japan, was arrested by airport police for suspicion of taking illicit photographs of a female flight attendant during a domestic flight.
The man was arrested soon after his arrival in Tokyo and taken into custody, with a search of his home being carried out soon after, revealing compelling evidence.
However, just two days later, the man walked free after Tokyo metropolitan police struggled to pinpoint the exact geographical location where the crime was committed, and were unable to prosecute.
The man, reported to be a managing director at an unnamed company, was caught taking up-skirt photos of the flight attendant using a special camera that resembled a ball-point pen, perhaps fancying himself as a perverted James Bond.
According to witnesses on the plane, the secret photographs were taken while the plane was somewhere over Hyogo prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan, which, unfortunately for this peeping tom, has strict anti-nuisance laws in place, with the offence punishable by time in prison or hefty fines.
As well as having eye-witness testimonies, Police discovered dozens of similar illicit photographs on the man’s home computer’s hard-disk, pointing to his guilt on this occasion.
Tokyo District Court, however, ruled that, since there was no way of pinpointing the exact location of the plane when Pervy McPervison took the snaps, it was not possible to prosecute him based on existing laws, leaving them with no other option but to let him go free two days later.
Even putting the photographic evidence and eye-witness statements aside for a moment, the man’s possession of a camera disguised as a ball-point pen alone puts him firmly in the “creepy” category, perhaps even more so in Japan than other countries.
Since the rise in popularity of mobile phones with built-in cameras, cases of men taking secret photos in public places has risen to the point that all phones sold in Japan are now required by law to have a loud shutter sound whenever a photo is taken, whether it be set to “manner” mode or not. Taking a photo of the scenery outside, or even a quick screen-grab on a smart phone usually results in nearby people turning quickly to check whether they’ve been snapped without their permission.
Merely owning a secret-agent style camera like this, to this writer at least, plants the accused firmly in “creepy”, quite possibly inching into the “professional perv” band…
The moral of the story? Crime in the clouds doesn’t count, and if you ever see a businessman on a plane with a weird-looking pen, check to see that he’s actually writing with it.