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SINGAPORE
Judicial CP - December 2012



Corpun file 24241 at www.corpun.com

masthead

The New Paper, Singapore, 7 December 2012

Loan-shark runner gets jail, caning

By Shaffiq Alkhatib

SINGAPORE - They worked together for an unlicensed moneylender, harassing debtors into repaying their loans.

At around 12.50pm on Dec 3 last year, Bernard Quek He Feng, 21 (pictured), and Sasitharan Marimuthu, 20, went to a debtor's flat in Tampines.

Sasitharan then used kerosene to start a fire in front of the main door.

Quek, who was a full-time national serviceman, also used a marker with indelible black ink and scrawled graffiti on a wall near the lift lobby.

He wrote "Owe $ Pay $", followed by the debtor's unit and mobile phone numbers.

Quek pleaded guilty to one count of acting on behalf of an illegal moneylender. Three similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

He was also given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on two other charges.

Quek was jailed for 18 months on Tuesday and ordered to receive three strokes of the cane.

Sasitharan had been dealt with earlier and he was sentenced to reformative training.

The court heard that Quek was facing financial problems in July last year and had difficulties paying his mobile phone bills.

He managed to borrow $400 from a loan shark known only as "Kilat", but was unable to repay the loan sometime in late October last year.

Quek was offered work as a "harasser" for Kilat and was tasked to set fire to debtors' homes.

Afraid

Quek agreed to become one as he was afraid that his home would be targeted by other "harassers".

He was also told that he would be given $120 for every unit he harassed and that Kilat would tell him where to go.

Sometime in mid November last year, the court heard that Sasitharan, one of Quek's camp mates, told him that he was facing financial difficulties.

The younger man later agreed to assist Quek in committing his offences for $50 per harassment job.

For acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, Quek could have been jailed up to five years and fined between $5,000 and $50,000.




Corpun file 24271 at www.corpun.com

masthead

The Straits Times, Singapore, 13 December 2012, p.B12

Jail, cane and fine for molesting depressed housewife

By Khushwant Singh

A MAN who molested a housewife was yesterday sentenced to three years' jail and nine strokes of the cane. He was also fined $1,000.

At about 10.40pm on Nov 24, Roopasingha Arachchige Anil Perera, 31, targeted the 47-year-old woman as she walked to a coffee shop in Serangoon Central.

A district court heard that he believed she was not completely mentally sound and decided to target her. She was suffering from depression at the time.

When she resisted, the Sri Lankan man held on to her hands. He let go only after she threatened to report him to the police.

Perera then ordered her to follow him. Afraid he would hurt her, she went with him to an isolated corner on the ground floor of a block of flats. There, he pulled down her undergarments and kissed her. He also pulled down his pants as well.

She tried to push him away but he was too strong. Eventually, she had to lie that passers-by were approaching before he let her go.

But her ordeal was not over. As she walked home after buying food, Perera told her to follow him into a garden. He made her masturbate him before handing her a piece of paper with his cellphone number on it.


Click to enlarge

She went home but was afraid and did not reveal what happened. It was only when her son asked her to buy food for him the next day that she told him what happened. Her son took her to the police on Nov 26. The woman cannot be named as she is a victim in a molestation case.

Perera, who is unemployed and here on a special pass, pleaded guilty to using criminal force on the housewife, and admitted to wrongfully restraining her when he pulled down her clothes to outrage her modesty.

He could have been jailed up to 10 years and caned 24 times for wrongful restraint. The $1,000 fine was for using criminal force.




Corpun file 24280 at www.corpun.com

The Asian Age, New Delhi, India, 24 December 2012

Wield the rod, stem the rot

In Singapore, forget rape, even a case of molestation draws justice that is swift and merciless. A few strokes of the cane on the rump, meant to put the fear of god in the culprit for life.

By Lakshmi Narayan

It was a Sunday morning, just a couple of weeks after we had relocated to Singapore. I was doing nothing in particular, as I moseyed down Serangoon Road, the Indian quarter. My attention was drawn towards a bunch of girls dressed in their Sunday best.

I did not know then that these smartly-turned-out women were Filipina maids, out having fun on their weekly day off.

Suddenly I heard one of them scream, "He touched my breast." I turned around to see a swaggering man -- obviously Indian -- leering at them. The next thing I knew, the girl had caught him by the collar and was shaking him angrily, shouting, "Why did you do that?" Even as he gave some reply full of bravado, another dusky man in what seemed like a deep blue safari suit stepped in. "What's happening?" he asked gruffly.


Click to enlarge

Seeing him, the stuffing went out of the first man as he collapsed like a heap of rubbish at the girl's feet. "Forgive me, sister. I'm sorry. I won't do it again," he whimpered. This was when I realised the second man was a police officer. "He touched your breast, eh?" he asked, as he expertly handcuffed the quivering man.

There was ample reason for the man to shiver in fright. In Singapore, forget rape, even a case of molestation draws justice that is swift and merciless. A few strokes of the cane on the rump. This may seem rather mild as far as punishment goes. But it is meant to put the fear of god in the culprit for life. As one recipient described the unbearable pain he felt, "If there's a word stronger than excruciating, this is it!"

Caning -- introduced during the British era and continued to this day -- is a legally accepted form of discipline in Singapore. The whole process is gone through meticulously with cold-blooded efficiency. Only a male aged between 18 [Wrong -- the lower limit in ordinary courts is 16 -- C.F.] and 50 is eligible, after he's been certified fit by a medical officer. Although the maximum number of strokes to be administered at a time cannot exceed 24, I have seldom read of a judge handing down more than six to a molester.

A rattan cane four feet long and half an inch thick is soaked in water beforehand to make it more flexible and effective. And, some say, more agonising. The guilty party is made to strip and secured to a caning trestle. Protective padding is placed on his lower back to shield the spine and kidneys. The caning is always on the posterior because this area has the most fat deposits in the body and will not damage vital organs.

The cane is then brought down with full force on the bare buttocks at 15-second intervals. They say the torment is so intense that many faint. It takes between one week and a month for the wounds to heal, leaving behind indelible white marks that will remind the reprobate to forever look at a woman only as a mother, a sister or a daughter!

Sad to say, most of the sexual transgressors in Singapore seem to be of Indian origin [I very much doubt it -- I have seen no evidence that the racial make-up differs from that of the Singapore population as a whole -- C.F.]. When I was working for the Straits Times, I remember one such case at our daily morning meeting that the reporter read out. The miscreant was travelling by bus one morning when he espied a woman -- a complete stranger! -- from the window. "I saw her and wanted to feel her breasts. So I got off the bus, stood next to her and fondled her," he admitted nonchalantly. I cannot remember how many strokes of the cane he was administered, but, rest assured, he didn't have these urges again!

In my book Bonsai Kitten set in Singapore, I have dealt with the plight of the maid Saroja undergoing maltreatment at the hands of her husband Pakkiri. One instance is when he places a hot iron on her private parts and she blacks out. Let me confess here that with all the imagination at my bidding, I could not have conceived of such a sick scenario on my own. It was related to me by my temporary maid with chilling detail. I felt compelled to incorporate it into the story because it is frightening that such savage acts are accepted submissively and unquestioningly by women as their due.

Nearer home, we are all sickened by the mindless carnage being inflicted on women, be it acid throwing by disgruntled wannabe boyfriends, dowry deaths caused by greedy in-laws, or gang rape. One can safely say that in this country, at least 90 per cent of women have been subjected to sexual abuse of some kind.

Our films actively encourage eve-teasing. Our movies go one step further in enforcing the age-old bias that the woman is "asking for it" either because she wears Western apparel, or because she has told off a man or goes out on her own. I recently saw a runaway Tamil hit where a woman tries to chide a man and she's told, "Put your finger away. You cannot wag your finger at a man. You are only a woman." When she gazes angrily at him, he threatens her with, "Look down. Don't you know a woman is not fit to make eye contact with a man?" How do the censors pass such dangerously degrading rubbish?

As for the votaries of the she-asked-for-it school of thought -- which also includes women politicians -- I would like to tell them that in Singapore, women not only wear the skimpiest of outfits in public, but also go to restaurants, nightclubs, bars and movies alone and return home late at night without fear of being attacked. This, I feel, is not just because of stringent laws but greatly because of mindset. The average Chinese and Malay man does not leer at women or pass dirty remarks and, most important, does not undress them with his eyes. Which is exactly what we do in our country -- a country espousing Devi Maa, the Mother Goddess!

The latest heinous crime to hit the headlines is of the gang rape victim in Delhi who is fighting for her life. Our collective national psyche is screaming out for castration and hanging as a means to stop this senseless brutality. In India, our men first practise their inhuman sadism at home. Then they're fully equipped to try their luck with strangers. We are all tired of saying we should sensitise them to women's issues. But let's face it. It's not going to happen for the next 100 years. The rot is too deeply ingrained.

What then is the answer, since civilised society will not allow us to impale rapists, sear acid throwers or incinerate bride burners? The only effective deterrent is something that will make such people swear to themselves they'll never do it again. Let's organise fast-track courts in every city first. Then introduce Singapore-style caning for molesters and those who indulge in domestic violence.

Amnesty International has condemned judicial caning as cruel, inhuman and degrading. But do these evildoers deserve to be classified as humans?

The writer is the author of Bonsai Kitten.

Copyright © 2011 The Asian Age. All rights reserved.

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