Shanmugam on Singapore's assurance not to cane roach

I think the vast majority of people understand what is happening in the case.

He was outside jurisdiction, he was in Thailand, he was allowed to leave Thailand. We don't have an extradition arrangement with Thailand. He went through the United Kingdom, and the UK is part of the Commonwealth.

We were entitled to make a request because there are extradition arrangements with Commonwealth countries, many of them. And the UK will not extradite him unless Singapore gives an undertaking not to cane him.

There are certain punishments which different countries impose, which the extraditing country may not agree with or does not exist (there). In the UK, there is no corporal punishment. So, they will not extradite to a country which has corporal punishment.

Likewise, in the past, there have been cases where the extraditing country does not have the death penalty, and will not extradite unless the requesting country gives an undertaking not to impose the death penalty.

And so you have a choice: You can either say okay, I will not do the undertaking, in which case, he will not be extradited, he will go off to lead his life in Canada or wherever else.

Or we can say, we will give the undertaking not to cane, but he will come to face all the other punishments, if he is convicted.

So, I think we will have to decide which is the better option for us - let him go off scot free, as it were, or get him back to face a trial. I think it is a fairly obvious answer.


HOME AFFAIRS AND LAW MINISTER K. SHANMUGAM, on the deliberations behind Singapore's move in promising not to cane Canadian David James Roach, the suspect in the 2016 Standard Chartered Bank robbery case, if he is extradited from the United Kingdom and found guilty.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'Shanmugam on Singapore's assurance not to cane roach'. Subscribe