Parents in Singapore for coroner's inquiry

THE parents of American researcher Shane Todd, who was found hanged here last year, have arrived in Singapore ahead of the coroner's inquiry into his death next week.

Mr and Mrs Rick Todd also met yesterday with the lawyers who will represent them at the inquiry, said lead lawyer Gloria James from Gloria James-Civetta & Co.

The Todds have said they believe their son was murdered because of his work for the Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME), which they alleged had links to a Chinese firm seen by the United States as a security threat.

Dr Todd was found dead in his apartment last June shortly after he quit the institute. He was 31.

Ms James said the lawyers will work with Mr and Mrs Todd this week to prepare them for the inquiry. The Todds also brought with them reports from experts they consulted regarding their son's death, she added. These include medical reports.

The coroner's inquiry, scheduled to last from May 13 to 28, is meant to determine Dr Todd's cause of death.

Ms James said the witness list comprises 63 people but not all may be called to testify.

Mr and Mrs Todd have claimed they found a hard drive containing their son's work files in his apartment near Chinatown shortly after his death. These supposedly included a project linking IME to Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies.

Huawei has been suspected of espionage by the US government, which it denies. It has also worked in other countries such as Italy without incident.

Both Huawei and IME have said they did not go beyond preliminary talks on a commercial project involving gallium nitride, a semiconductor material which has been studied by other scientists. IME has also invited an American team to audit it.