February 20, 2018 / 9:15 AM / a month ago

Singapore says won't cane suspected bank robber if deported from UK

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore said on Tuesday it had agreed to a request from Britain not to carry out corporal punishment on a suspected bank robber if he is extradited to face charges in the city-state.

David Roach, a Canadian national who allegedly stole S$30,000 ($22,758) from a Standard Chartered bank branch in July 2016, was detained in Britain in January on an extradition request from Singapore.

He is being sought on one count of robbery, which carries a minimum prison sentence of two years and at least six strokes of the cane, and on one count of money laundering.

“The Singapore government has agreed to the UK authorities’ request. UK extradition laws prohibit UK from extraditing Roach to Singapore in the absence of such an assurance,” Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

“The provision of the assurance is being done to try and ensure that Roach does not escape justice, and does not affect the general position taken by Singapore on corporal punishment. The UK Courts will decide whether to extradite Roach.”

The rare bank robbery in Singapore sparked a flurry of debate about whether the country has grown too complacent about security.

Singapore has very low levels of crime, thanks in part to decades of strict policing and tough punishments, ranging from death for drug trafficking and murder to prison and caning for lesser crimes.

Reporting by John Geddie; Editing by Robert Birsel

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