Singapore sentences Swiss to caning for graffiti

SINGAPORE – Singapore sentenced a Swiss man to three strokes of a cane and five months in prison Friday for spray-painting graffiti on a subway car, reinforcing the city-state's reputation for severely punishing minor crimes. Oliver Fricker, 32, pleaded guilty earlier in the day to one count each of vandalism and trespassing for breaking into a train depot with an accomplice and drawing graffiti on two subway carriages on May 16. Fricker's lawyer, Derek Kang, said his client would appeal the punishment. "He feels the sentence is too high, and so do I," Kang told reporters. Fricker, who had been free on bail of 100,000 Singapore dollars ($72,000), was immediately taken into custody by court police. The information technology consultant didn't speak to the media. He was silent and motionless throughout the hearing, but sighed heavily as he was led away. "The offenses were planned and carefully executed," said Senior District Judge See Kee Oon. "These were not impulsive displays of youthful bravado." Vandalism in Singapore carries a mandatory three to eight strokes of a cane and a fine of up to SG$2,000 Singapore dollars ($1,437) or up to three years in jail.

Singapore caning punishment is no joke. Michael Fay, an American teen was knocked out after receiving his first of 4 caning punishments. Singapore is a beautiful place. I've been there many times. Western kids ought to have their butt whipped if they know nothing about personal responsibility, accountability and discipline. We need caning here. I'm tired of seeing our cities tagged.

Can't say I feel a huge ammount of sympathy - if you go to another country and abuse their nation by vandalising public transport it is a juvenile and puerile way to behave in the first place. If the circumstances described are accurate the judge is right in pointing out this is a pre-planned act of vandalism by a man who by no stretch of the imagination can be seen as anything other an adult who should be able to understand the consequences of this sort of behaviour.

I wouldn't like to see caning re-introduced here in the UK or utilised in the US but if the authorities in Singapore choose to use it then foreign visitors should choose to use their common sense and know the rules of a nation before visiting it.

He took his chances and got caught. According to the site posted above, his accomplice managed to get to Hong Kong. From what I can gather, they were going from country to country doing this.

Have to be very careful abroad. Male American worker in Saudi with wife and kids. Leave on trip and return to Saudi. Sixteen year old daughter figured customs would never check her danties which is where she stored the joint. They did. Way it works is the father is responsible for all acts of family. They were deported, he spent two years in a Saudi prison. Upon release, he was driven, without a shower or change of clothes, to the airport. Don't believe the family was drawing a salary either. Oh, to click one's heels and be back in Kansas.

Singapore is notorious for its harsh punishments. Perhaps that was part of the thrill in committing this crime.

The Bloomberg news service is describing the man as holding an executive level position with his company.

Certainly someone with that degree of responsibility, let alone someone of his age, should have known better.

Remember the American who, in 1996, got drunk and on a dare crossed into N. Korea? He got out after five months and a $5,000 fine. He was accussed of spying having been found drunk and naked by some farmers.

He got off lightly, imho. He was 32 and an 'executive'. This wasn't just a matter of spur of the moment high spirits and bad judgment. It was premeditated and involved breaking into the depot and the carriages to carry it out.

Just the breaking and entering should have carried a greater sentence.

If I were the company employing this man, I would seriously review his continued employment. He doesn't sound like someone I'd like on my payroll.

When I lived in KSA, not that I was smuggling anything, I used to pack female sanitary products on top of my clothing just to keep them from rummaging too deeply around my suitcases. It worked for me. They only gave my cases a perfunctory examination while you could see them turning red. Course, that was around 35 years ago. They might be much more sophisticated now.

We used to have the lash in Canada and it reduced the recidivism rate of rape and armed robbery to negligable levels .Now the recidivism rate is near 45%.When the lash was considered to barbaric and potentially disfiguring we went to the paddle which was used on the backside and actually caused more pain(anecdotal evidence)than the lash which was basically a cat o nine tails.

I don't have any problem with corporal punishment if administered consistantly,fairly and humanely.I'd rather have that than the Canadian Young Offenders Act which is considered a joke by our JDs

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