Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Singapore's Nguyen

Two stories about execution are circulating this week: in the US, John Hicks was the 999th execution since 1976 and Vietnamese-Australian Nguyen Van Tuong is scheduled for execution by hanging in Singapore on Friday. Nguyen has been convicted of drug trafficking which carries a mandatory death sentence. He was found in possession of 396.2 grams of heroin 25 times the amount mandating a death sentence.

Since 1994 there had been a decline in the crime rate, but since 2001, it has since started to increase. Singapore is known for its tough stance on crime. Not flushing a toilet is illegal, fines are given for spitting, and the sale, importation, and possession is also banned and subject to heavy fines. Toy weapons and currency and obscene materials are also banned. In 1994, Michael P. Fay was arrested for vandalism and sentenced to be caned 12 times. Former President Bill Clinton asked leniency and Fay's sentence was reduced to 4 strokes. In the case of Nguyen, as well, Australian Prime Minister John Howard has also made an appeal. Also, recently a Singaporean blogger pled guilty to charges of posting anti-Muslim remarks and has been placed on 2 years probation.

The last report by the Singaporean government comparing its crime rates with those of other major cities was published in 1994, which showed Singapore possessed crime rate comparable to to those of large Japanese cities about 2,000 per 100,000 population in 1990. Philiadelphia had a crime rate of 23,245 per 100,000 in the same year.

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