Swiss man to be caned in Singapore
SINGAPORE — Singapore sentenced a Swiss man to three strokes of a cane and five months in prison yesterday for spray-painting graffiti on a subway car, reinforcing the city-state’s reputation for severely punishing minor crimes.
Oliver Fricker, 32, pleaded guilty to one count each of vandalism and trespassing for breaking into a train depot and drawing graffiti on two subway carriages on May 16.
Fricker’s lawyer, Derek Kang, said his client would appeal.
“He feels the sentence is too high, and so do I,’’ Kang told reporters.
Fricker, who had been free on bail of $72,000, was immediately taken into custody by court police. The information technology consultant was silent and motionless throughout the hearing, but sighed heavily as he was led away.
“The offenses were planned and carefully executed,’’ said Senior District Judge See Kee Oon. “These were not impulsive displays of youthful bravado.’’
Vandalism carries a mandatory three to eight strokes of a cane and a fine of up to $1,437 or up to three years in jail.
Singapore boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates and highest standards of living in the world, but human rights groups often criticize the government for excessive punishments such as hanging drug couriers. Singapore also reiterated a ban on the sale of chewing gum this year.