Singapore's sovereignty not compromised in StanChart robbery case

We thank Mr Sean Lim Wei Xin for his letter (Disappointed by decision on StanChart robbery suspect; Feb 22).

It was necessary to provide the assurance to the United Kingdom (UK) that StanChart robbery suspect David James Roach would not be caned, or the UK would not have permitted the extradition.

This assurance does not mean a compromise of our sovereignty. Rather, it reflects that countries have differing views on crime and punishment.

There have been instances when countries, like the United States, also had to provide assurances to the UK that they would not impose capital punishment in order to secure extradition.

It is how extradition laws operate internationally.

Mr Lim wrongly compared Roach's case with that of the 1994 case of American teenager Michael Fay, who was caned for vandalising cars and public property.

Fay was arrested in Singapore and we did not have to make any extradition request. However, Roach is presently outside our jurisdiction.

Our choice was between providing the assurance to seek Roach's extradition to Singapore, or not get him back at all.

Contrary to the assertion by Mr Lim that this would give foreigners the wrong impression that committing crime in Singapore is not viewed seriously, our actions send a clear message that we will do whatever is necessary and permissible within our legal framework to seek justice against all perpetrators.

This is regardless of nationality and where they might have fled to after committing crimes in Singapore.

Sunny Lee
Director, Media Relations
Ministry of Home Affairs

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore's sovereignty not compromised in StanChart robbery case'. Print Edition | Subscribe