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Police investigating after Montreal women report suspicious man asking to pose for nude photos


Xian Goh was on her way to her gym in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood on June 28 when she says she was approached on the corner of Saint-Dominique Street and Mont-Royal Avenue by a man who claimed to be a photographer from Toronto.

The man told the 20-year-old Montrealer that he had two days to complete a photography project with a friend that required him to shoot body silhouettes.

"He looks amicable, he physically looks like a very kind person," said Goh of the man.

At first glance, Goh said the man seemed harmless. So much so that she thought he was one of those TikTok street photographers who asks to take photos of random people in the street.

And since he had told her that the purpose of his project was to capture silhouettes, Goh says she thought that he would only be photographing her shadow.

But that wasn't the case.

He told her that he wants to take pictures of her from the waist down.

"Then, I started walking with him and he tried to lure me into an alleyway ... He said we needed to be in a relatively hidden place because it would be nude pictures of my legs and my private parts," Goh added.

Xian Goh shared her experience with the man in a TikTok video, which has more than 380,000 views as of Friday. (CTV News)

That's when she knew she was in trouble. She said she declined, made her way out of the alley as fast as she could and immediately called Montreal police (SPVM).

A little while later, while she was on the phone with police at the gym, a girl who overheard her conversation in the locker room interrupted Goh and told her the same thing had happened to her three weeks prior.

That was the push Goh needed to share her story and warn others about the man through a video on TikTok. 

"I was sure that that wasn't an isolated case. And that it happened to other girls. Not only the girl in the locker room but other girls because I could tell in his approach that he learned his discourse by heart," she said.

An isolated case, it was not.

The TikTok video she posted garnered more than 380,000 views and received hundreds of comments from women all over Montreal who also shared a similar experience.

Xian Goh took a photo of the man who allegedly approached her near the corner of Saint-Dominique and Mont-Royal Avenue on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. (Submitted photo)

A 24-year-old woman who spoke to CTV News on the condition of anonymity shared her experience, which she said dates back to April 7.

She said it all began when she noticed a man looking at her through her gym window while working out. It was only once she had left the gym that he rushed behind her to come to talk to her.

Contrary to Goh's interaction with the man, the 24-year-old Montrealer said the so-called photographer kept repeating how "shy" he was and that he "doesn't usually do this" sort of thing.

However, the storyline remained the same.

"He says, 'I want to do a silhouette project; I already have the top part with a model in Toronto. I'm just looking for someone to do the bottom part of the silhouette and then match the pictures together.' And then he goes, 'I've been looking for the perfect fit and I think that you'd be it,'" said the 24-year-old.

What started with a compliment about her "very defined" legs and buttocks was followed by a request to "take a nude picture with him in a forest," she told CTV News.

Though she was able to get out of the situation fairly easily by pointing out to her boyfriend who was nearby, she warned that it's easy to fall into the man's trap because he comes off as kind and harmless.

On the bright side, the TikTok video, which went viral, brought both young women and many others together and is helping them make sense of their shared experiences, according to the 24-year-old.

"At first, I wasn't sure if it was something that I just lived and I was like interpreting. There's a little part of me throughout the last two months that was like, 'Oh, maybe this is actually just a really bad photographer that went about it the wrong way. And once I saw that video, I was like, 'OK, no, this is actually a thing.' So it was really validating for me that my little instinct of like this was wrong was actually right," she said.

This instinct pushed Xian Goh to contact Montreal police in the first place.

"I am going to be more vigilant starting now and I feel less safe than I was before that interaction. But I'm not going to change my lifestyle because it is not my fault that I was approached by this man who had bad intentions," said Goh.

In the meantime, she encourages anyone with information about the man to call Montreal police and file a complaint since an investigation has been opened.

The SPVM declined to comment on the details of the investigation but told CTV News that it recommends anyone who comes across this person to interrogate him on his identity and the type of work he's involved in.

They added that it's important not to be afraid to refuse his request and refrain from giving out personal information. Top Stories

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