Stanchart bank robbery suspect extradited from Britain charged in court

Robbery suspect David James Roach being escorted from the plane after arriving in Singapore from Britain on March 17, 2020. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - The suspect in the 2016 Standard Chartered Bank robbery, who was extradited to Singapore, was charged with robbery and money laundering on Tuesday (March 17).

Canadian David James Roach, 30, had allegedly robbed the bank's Holland Village branch of $30,000 on July 7, 2016, by walking into the bank and slipping the teller a note with his demands, claiming that he had a weapon.

Roach then fled to Thailand, where he was arrested on July 9, and later sentenced to 14 months' jail for violating money laundering and other Thai Customs laws.

He was deported from Thailand in January 2018, but was detained in London, at Singapore's request, while en route to Canada.

The Thai government had rejected Singapore's request to extradite Roach, as the two countries have no extradition treaty in place.

The successful extradition from Britain marks the end of a lengthy process to have Roach return to Singapore's shores.

Singapore had to reassure the British government that he would not be caned if he were to be convicted of robbery, which is an offence that comes with mandatory caning here.

British laws prohibit the authorities from extraditing Roach without such an undertaking. The country had abolished caning for criminals in 1948.

Roach appealed multiple times to the British High Court to reverse the decision to extradite him to Singapore, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) in a joint statement.

The High Court heard and dismissed his appeal, and Roach was handed over to the Singapore Police Force's custody on March 16.

He arrived in Singapore on Tuesday, and appeared in court via video link the same day.

He faces one count of robbery, and one count of removing the benefits of his criminal conduct.

In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, all necessary precautionary measures in handling the extradition were taken, said police.

The British prison service had certified him fit for travel before he was handed over to police officers from Singapore.

SPF said its officers sent to the United Kingdom were required to monitor their health status, as well as Roach's health while on the flight back to Singapore. Roach, who did not present any Covid-19 symptoms, will be placed under 14-day segregation for observation while under legal custody, said the police.

The officers who returned will also stay at home and monitor their health status as a precautionary measure, the police added.

In a joint statement early on Tuesday, the SPF and AGC said: "The Singapore authorities will do whatever is necessary and permissible within our legal framework to pursue and bring to justice those who commit crimes in Singapore, regardless of nationality and where they might have fled to.

"We will also not hesitate to take firm action against these individuals, and will seek an appropriate sentence if they are convicted."

Roach will be back in court on April 7.

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