Court rules Britain free to extradite Singapore bank robbery suspect

By Reuters   August 29, 2018 | 07:06 pm PT
Court rules Britain free to extradite Singapore bank robbery suspect
Police officers work at scene of a robbery at Standard Chartered Bank branch in Singapore, as shown in a file photo by Reuters.
A British court has ruled that a fugitive wanted by Singapore for a rare bank robbery could be extradited.

The decision was made after the wealthy city-state agreed to waive corporal punishment if he is found guilty.

Canadian David Roach is accused of having stolen S$30,000 ($22,758) from a branch of Standard Chartered bank in 2016 by handing a threatening note to a teller. He then fled to Thailand with the money.

“All challenges fail,” said district judge N Tempia of the Westminster magistrates’ court.

Roach’s lawyer had appealed against the extradition, in court documents seen by Reuters, citing Singapore prison conditions, the fact that his client was jailed in Thailand, and concerns that Singapore would not keep its promise.

The case sparked debate at the time about whether Singapore, which has a very low crime rate, had become too complacent on security. The decision on Roach’s extradition has now been passed to Britain’s secretary of state.

“Singapore authorities are working closely with the UK authorities on the next steps in this matter,” Singapore’s home affairs ministry and its attorney-general’s chambers said in a joint statement late on Wednesday.

Singapore wants Roach on one count of robbery, carrying a minimum jail term of two years and at least six strokes of the cane, and on one count of money laundering. In February, Singapore agreed to waive corporal punishment.

After fleeing to Thailand, Roach was jailed for 14 months for not declaring such a large amount of money upon arrival.

Singapore authorities said they had repeatedly asked Thailand to send Roach back to face charges, but it decided to deport Roach to Canada in January.

However, en route home, he was detained by British police at London’s Heathrow Airport at the request of Singapore, a former British colony that has an extradition treaty with Britain, but not Thailand.

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