Two Germans to plead guilty in Singapore vandalism case
Two young German men will plead guilty to vandalism, an offence punishable by caning, after spray-painting a metro train in Singapore, their lawyer said Monday.
Singapore: Two young German men will plead guilty to vandalism, an offence punishable by caning, after spray-painting a metro train in Singapore, their lawyer said Monday.
Lawyer Christopher Bridges said his clients Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz, both 21, would also enter a guilty plea to two counts of trespassing at a hearing on March 5. They will be sentenced the same day.
Vandalism carries a penalty of up to three years in jail or a fine of up to Sg$2,000 ($1,478), and between three and eight strokes of a rattan cane -- a punishment dating back to British colonial rule in the city-state.
Bridges told reporters after a closed-door pre-trial hearing with prosecutors and the judge that the number of charges against his clients had been reduced from four to three.
"They will plead guilty and face sentencing next month to the three charges," Bridges said.
"I cannot confirm ... the likelihood of caning. That is up to the discretion of the judge."
Under the law first-time offenders can be spared caning for vandalism if the "writing, drawing, mark or inscription" can be erased, but not when indelible substances such as paint or tar are used.
For trespassing, the Germans face up to two years in jail, a fine of up to Sg$1,000, or both for each count.
The two were accused of breaking into a suburban depot and spray-painting graffiti on the exterior of a metro train cabin last November. The depot is a restricted zone surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire.
They were extradited to Singapore by neighbouring Malaysia after being arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as they were leaving for Australia.
Both remain in remand at Changi Prison.
Singapore, a leading Asian financial hub, is known for its tough stance on crime.
Its vandalism laws became global news in 1994 when an American teenager, Michael Fay, was caned for damaging cars and public property.
In 2010 Swiss expatriate Oliver Fricker was sentenced to seven months in jail and three strokes of the cane after he used spray paint to vandalise a train at a depot.
Caning entails being whipped on the back of the thigh below the buttocks, which can split the skin and leave lasting scars.