Singapore to Cane and Imprison Two German Youths

A court in Singapore has sentenced two German youths to nine months imprisonment and three strokes of the cane each for breaking into a depot and spray-painting graffiti on a commuter train.

22-year-old Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz, 21, were accused of vandalism and trespass after they broke into one of Singapore’s train depots last November to spray-paint a carriage. The men then fled Singapore but were later tracked down in neighbouring Malaysia in an international manhunt and then brought back to the city-state to face trial.

Von Knorre and Hinz who had pleaded guilty, expressed remorse while being sentenced on Thursday. “This is the darkest episode of my entire life,” Von Knorre said while being sentenced, adding, “I want to apologise to the state of Singapore for the stupid act. I’ve learned my lesson and will never do it again.”

Hinz said, “I promise I will never do it again. I want to apologise to you, and my family for the shame and situation I’ve put them into.”

Singapore, well known for its cleanliness and zero tolerance for crime, uses the rattan cane to carry out the sentence. Prisoners are stripped and strapped to a wooden trestle with a medical officer nearby to intervene, if necessary.

However, Singaporean judicial system has faced criticisms from some rights groups around the world for this sort of punishment.

“The Singapore judicial system’s shameful recourse to using torture, in the form of caning to punish crimes that should be misdemeanours, is indicative of a blatant disregard for international human rights standards,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.

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