25 Feb 2005

Remember Nguyen Tuong Van?

Nguyen Tuong Van faces the death penalty

I just stumbled across your blog and I thought you maybe interested in the following article. Feel free to use it as you feel is appropriate.

Gary Meyerhoff


Remember Nguyen Tuong Van?

By Gary Meyerhoff, 25th February 2005

Days to execution: Unknown

As far as I know, 24-year-old Melbourne man Nguyen Tuong Van is still in a cell at Singapore’s Changi Prison facing execution. He will be given less than 24 hours notice of his hanging; and we won’t be told until it is done. The Australian Government and our media are failing him miserably. After ten months on death row, Nguyen Tuong Van should be a household name.

I remember back when I was eleven years old. I was at a friend’s place and like most Australian homes the television was blaring constantly in the background. I vividly remember stopping to watch a report that Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers had been executed and I remember a horrible feeling as I tried to make sense of what had just happened.

Barlow and Chambers were hanged in Malaysia on July 07, 1986 for the alleged trafficking of 141.9 grams of heroin. Back then, I didn’t really know what heroin was, but I knew who Barlow and Chambers were.

The Australian media lapped up the Barlow and Chambers case, using it to sell more and more newspapers and to increase the ratings on their news and current affairs
programs. Australia’s press gallery went into a frenzy in an attempt to save the men.

For political reasons, this media pressure backfired. Rajendran Kuppusamy, the Malaysian hangman who performed the executions, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper in 1996 that the case was rushed through the Malaysian legal system.

"The Attorney-General wanted us to make it fast, he didn't want to delay the case," said Kuppusamy. "It was really fast because they were getting pressure from all over."

Facing an election, Malaysian President Dr Mahathir Mohamad was under immense pressure to show that he was the man prepared to stand-up against the West - against White people.

Once the executions had happened the Australian news barons dropped the story as quickly as the two young Australians had dropped through the trapdoor in Pudu Prison.

The journalists returned to their usual mundanereporting and the issue was dead. They might havefailed to prevent the executions, and possibly even contributed to the executions being rushed, but Australia’s press gallery had succeeded in imprinting the names Barlow and Chambers firmly in the Australian psyche.

Almost twenty years after the deaths of Barlow and Chambers, Nguyen Tuong Van, on his first trip overseas from Australia, was arrested at Singapore airport. Police alleged that Nguyen was in possession of 400g of heroin. A Singapore court sentenced him to death for this crime in March 2004.

In stark contrast to events in 1986, Nguyen Tuong Van has been virtually ignored by the Australian Government and the media. Michael Fay, the white American kid who damaged a car or two and was flogged by the Singapore Government with the rattan cane, received more attention from the Australian media than this young Aussie from Melbourne. Nguyen Tuong Van is definitely not a household name!

Why are the media ignoring Nguyen? Is it because they can’t pronounce his name or is the real reason a little more insidious than that? I mean, Schapelle Corby doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and she has been turned into a media celebrity, not to mention the millionaire Aussie yachtsman Chris Packer, recently released from an Indonesian jail after serving three months for failing to declare firearms.

I don’t want to take away from the seriousness of Schapelle’s situation. This young woman may also face the death penalty if she is found guilty of her alleged crime. Her trial has even been invaded by an Indonesian anti-drugs group demanding her execution.

With regards to media reporting though, there is obviously some sort of double standard happening.

Brian Chambers, Kevin Barlow, Schapelle Corby and Chris Packer all have one thing in common. They are all white Australians. Nguyen Tuong Van’s crime is that he is an Australian of Vietnamese origin. Australia’s predominantly white journalists (and our
white Prime Minister) have written him off as just another Viet boy dealing smack, just like they write off the residents of the Block in Redfern and Cabramatta in Sydney.

Like Singapore’s judiciary, they ignore Nguyen’s claims that he was only carrying the drugs in a desperate bid to pay off legal fees owed by his twin brother to a Sydney-based drugs syndicate. During a recent visit to Singapore, Australian Prime
Minister John Howard held a meeting with his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong where he put forward a half-hearted request for clemency. Mr Howard told the Melbourne Age; "I believe there's a very good case for clemency but people must understand that the laws of Singapore are well known and I think we'll leave it at
that." Responding to the Age reporters question on whether the execution of Nguyen would have an impact on bilateral relations between the two countries, Howard said: "Look, I think we have to keep a balance here." What he is saying is that Australia’s military relationship with Singapore is worth more to us economically than Nguyen Tuong Van. The Republic of Singapore Air Force has aircraft and personnel
permanently stationed at the Pearce air force base north of Perth and Singaporean fighter jets and naval vessels are regularly in and out of the Northern Australian city of Darwin. Australian military personnel provide ongoing training to Singapore’s
soldiers, sailors and airmen and Australian naval vessels are often in Singapore undergoing repairs that would cost ten times as much back home. Our military alliance and the subsequent boost to the Australian economy is not the only reason Howard is dragging his feet on this case. Singapore isn’t in the midst of an election and there doesn’t seem to be too much pressure from Singaporeans for Nguyen to be put to death. Sadly it looks like race is a factor in Howard’s laissez faire approach to Nguyen’s pending execution. Surely little Johnny wouldn’t let a white
boy hang so easily? If Nguyen was called Barry and he was from Vaucluse or Sydney’s North Shore, Howard would be doing everything in his power to stop the hanging. The Australian Prime Minister is acutely aware that the island nation has executed more than four hundred people since 1991, mostly for drug trafficking, giving Singapore the dubious distinction of having the highest execution rate in the world relative to
population. If Nguyen hangs, Howard will have the dubious distinction of being the Prime Minister who sat by while a young Australian went to the gallows, just like he sat by while 353 asylum seekers drowned in the SievX disaster. Nguyen awaits the results of John Howard’s request for clemency. We can only hope and pray that 81-year-old Singaporean President, Sellapan Ramanathan Nathan, will find it in his heart to call off the execution. In the meantime, you might want to contact your localmedia and ask them one question; do they rememberNguyen Tuong Van?

As for Schapelle, we train Indonesia’s troops too. This could be a sticky one for the Australian PrimeMinister. Let’s just hope that she gets a fair trial and that some sanity prevails in Bali.

[End article]

Gary Meyerhoff is a freelance journalist and an active member of the Darwin-based drug law-reform group the Network Against Prohibition (http://www.napnt.org).

This article was published in the NAPNT email digeston the 25th of February 2005. If you would like toreceive the full NAP newsletter you can subscribe to the NAPNT yahoogroup at the following link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/napnt.

More resources on Nguyen Tuong Van:
A plea to Singapore President

Article on Barlow and Chambers

Singapore upholds death penalty for Australian

Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty

Wikipedia article on Singapore’s President Sellapan

Wikipedia article on Singapore

For more info on SievX seehttp://sievx.com/

This article on the NAP website (with some more media


soci said...

does anyone remember?

redrown said...

i think its a classic case of white bigotry which occurs all the time...just think back to the tsunami, the predominant reason why there was so much attention brought to it is not because of the enormity of the situation but the enormity of the situation to Whites...if it takes the face of a white child to appeal to the heartstrings of people when far more asian childs were killed in the tsunami, then it speaks volumes for itself.

if memory serves me right, a young white german lady who faced the death penalty in sg a few years ago was eventually sentenced to a few years in jail...it was widely reported before she was sentenced, but not so after the light sentence, so I guess eventually they caved in to pressure, but the ST chose not to report it. To 'save face', I guess.

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Anonymous said...

redrown- I think its riduculous that youd pull the race card....but i suppose thats what you do if youre not white...all im saying is that the bloke is Australian, it doesnt matter what race he is..how is this a race issue at all?...they are going to hang him anyway...another example of singapore dicator state...its a pity cos as an ex resident i can say that place was one of the greatest places i ever lived...its just a pity that the people have no voice...everyone will always be scared to speek...

Anonymous said...

The Singapore government is an absolute disgrace. No government or indivdiual has ever had the right to take a human life under any circumstances.

Shame on Singapore, shame on its government and shame on its citizens who should stand up to the most brutal democracy in the world.

Thang D. Nguyen said...

Dear Gary,

I was doing a search on Nguyen Van Tuong and came across your article and blog.

I share a similar view with you on Tuong's and Corby's case. What a difference color makes?

To see my point, please read the following article.

Thang Nguyen: The ugly ocker rears his racist head once more
The Australian
20 July 2005

Has the Schapelle Corby drama revived White Australia attitudes?

IN Australia, to paraphrase British political novelist George Orwell, all citizens "are equal, but some are more equal than others". This was made clear last week when Prime Minister John Howard wrote a letter to convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.

In a personal note to Howard earlier this month, Corby had pleaded: "I need your help to prove my innocence to the courts, release me from this nightmare and set me free." To which Howard replied: "I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that I will continue to take a personal interest in your case." He promised that Corby would get assistance from Canberra.

Meanwhile, as her lawyers have appealed, the Bali High Court has granted Corby a retrial, which starts today. The difference this time, however, is that there will be 12 witnesses from Australia who may get her free.

Howard's letter came after a series of what can be interpreted only as xenophobic acts since the 27-year-old beautician received a 20-year sentence on May 27 for smuggling 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali.

First, Australians told each other to boycott Bali holiday resorts and Indonesian products in Australia. Next, they regretted having made donations to Indonesian victims of the Asian tsunami and some issued death threats against Indonesian diplomats and civilians living in Australia.

Some enraged Australians sent bullets to the Indonesian consulate in Perth and twice sent a chemical powder, which turned out to be harmless, to the Indonesian embassy in Canberra. Worse, someone sent a package that also contained harmless chemical powder to Parliament House in Canberra and addressed it to their own Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, who on behalf of the federal Government had sent regrets for the previous incidents to the Indonesian Government.

Why can't these Australians see that a crime is a crime, regardless of where one commits it? Everyone is subject to the laws and punishments of the nation in which he or she commits a crime. An Indonesian who commits a crime in Australia falls immediately under Australian laws. If found guilty, he or she would have to face the consequence -- whether it is imprisonment or otherwise -- of his or her crime under those laws.

Most of what the Australian public saw on television on May 27 was a true-blue, young Australian woman facing stone-faced Indonesian judges and being taken by the arms by Indonesian police after the reading of her verdict. For many Australians, this image provoked nothing less than injustice done to an Australian on foreign soil.

Never mind that 45 Australians are facing drug-trafficking charges across Asia. And never mind that some have received more severe sentences than Corby's. Nguyen Tuong Van and Tran Van Thanh, for instance, have been convicted of drug-smuggling charges, and they both face death row in Singapore and Vietnam respectively.

Why don't these Australian citizens receive any attention or sympathy from the Australian public, let alone personal interest from their Prime Minister? Is it because their surnames are Nguyen and Tran? If this does not sound like racism, what does?

Of course, given Australian history, one should not be surprised that a broad group of Aussies is still xenophobic. Remember, it was only a few decades ago when the slogan "Australia for the White Man" was on the masthead of The Bulletin, the nation's most respected magazine. And who could forget Labor leader Arthur Calwell's "Two Wongs don't make a white"?

Sure, Australia has changed for the better since those dark days, notwithstanding Hansonism in the late 1990s. Just think of the many Asian Australians, their cuisines and diverse cultures that one can find today in Sydney, Melbourne and other places in Australia. Still, as Australians' reactions to the Corby case show, the spectre of White Australia haunts the nation. The message: a white or Aussie life is more valuable than a brown or Asian one. Justice may be blind, but for Australians it's not colour-blind.

Thang Nguyen is a Jakarta-based columnist, whose writing can be read at http://thangthecolumnist.blogspot.com

If you like what you read, there is more where it came from on my blog.

With compliments, I am,

Thang D. Nguyen

Anonymous said...

The singapore government is not a disgrace. The disgrace is how australia makes a fool of themselves by sending their prime minister to make contact to the singaporean government over a drug trafficking idiot. For one all the articles placed talk about how this van is a good friend and all that but for some reason seem to not talk about how he is a DRUG TRAFFICKER, they go on to say nice things about him but failing to realise that he is a scum who is involved in heroine smuggling who has been picked up by singapore's highly efficient customs police. Secondly including countries such as malaysia , Thailand ,vietnam and singapore within the transit of airline passengers there are huge signs in bright red that states DRUG TRAFFICKING IS AN OFFENCE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH in four languages<---Four unless Van was blind it would have been a clear warning. For an example the signs on High voltage power lines they always have it clearly protrayed of what will happen if you tamper with high voltage power lines touch these cable and ZAPP ->death. What is there to argue YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED is not like you did not know but you just wanted to try your luck and well Bad Luck The next thing is that Van's family is from vietnam where death panalties do exist and its not a new thing to them, its quite pathetic to try and rally people to save a criminal like Van telling people how singapore is not good and negative just because your family member commited a crime and got caught.
Honestly the death penalty is good for Van as it would be a waste of singapore's tax payers money to clothe and feed Van if he gets life imprisonment.
And lastly apparently I have friends in singapore whom i have been speaking to, who told me that Van's execution isn't even on the news at all and have no idea of who he is. This goes to show that this incident isn't even worthy of being in the media, which is quite true.

All there is to say about this is good riddance the world will be a better place without one less drug smuggler spreading drugs thoughout the world . I look forward to his execution and will drink to that.~!!Cheers
ps. What a stupid title.singabloodypore?? so wheres van from vietFuckingNam.

Anonymous said...

fancy playin e race card here.. hmm. Anyways, i don't feel ashamed of being a citizen of Sg.. why? cos i wld'nt want somebody runnin ard givin drugs to my child.. simple logic.. i'm sure u wld'nt too.
if u wld have known tt our rule is so tight, why brought it in e first plc?
Yeah, & for e record, i think u shd get over wit e race thing, its gettin old...

Anonymous said...

i can't be bothered about any foreign citizen getting hanged because eventually they will get hanged.. rules are rules... i guess this subject is redundant. sorry.. wasted my time replying in here but i'm wasting my time typing so that i can tell you, you wasted yours...
and no... i'm not ashamed of being a Singaporean... are you ashamed of being racists..???
by the way, the real australians are the aborigines(its that how its spelled..??) and not the "white" people that currently call themselves australians..
sigh, go read your history text before claiming to be citizens.. irony, i'm not an australian and i know this... shame on you for not knowing..

Anonymous said...

i think thats a good point but i think vietfuckingnam is funny but i think it should be VietDrugsmugglingNam who is hiding behind Aust-tryingtosaveworthlessdrugsmugglingvietguy-ralia.
Further more about this inappropreiate title hanging does not invovle blood....so why bloody?
the only bloody thing in this that would come to mind is If this individual drops the soap before the big day..wow...noone can be that unlucky can they?
And it is not australia's place to question singapore's laws they have their laws we have ours the whole point is that he broke singaporean law in singapore so why should they accommodate australia's people's opinion to begin with. Australia's law as to date is ineffective on their own with all the crime that the australia has including armed shoot out with police happening in sydney and melbourne all the time , riots over some silly aboriginal getting run over by a cop after commiting a crime. All there is to say is that Australia should look at themselves before even questioning other country's governance and law and comparing singapore to australia singapore is one of the more safest countries in the world. Thanks to singapores strict laws , Australian law could stand to learn something from this and maybe australia will be a safer and peaceful place.

Anonymous said...

Think about the family:


Anonymous said...

I am a singaporean and full agreed with the posting earlier:

"Secondly including countries such as malaysia , Thailand ,vietnam and singapore within the transit of airline passengers there are huge signs in bright red that states DRUG TRAFFICKING IS AN OFFENCE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH in four languages<---Four unless Van was blind it would have been a clear warning. "

I am sure that Mr Nguyen had been educated by Australian Schools and irony that there are alot of singaporean students studying there too.

Why test the system i.e. testing the electric fence and got yourself kill and your friends and relatives balmed the owner of the electric fence of being Bloody.

For this Blog the name really puts me off because I am a singaporean.

I am sure that the British agree that Capital punishment help to keep down serious crimes when their Female Bobby was killed by robber when she and her partner responded to robbery call in England.

Capital punishment kept Singapore safe from the menace of the society and I fully support the hanging of Mr Mguyen.

I think his family will to prepare a grand funeral for him and his Ganglang brothers or drug lords will be there to give him a final farewell for his poor service.

Anonymous said...

Learn the laws of the land you walk on. This incident does not reflect badly on Singapore. Hey, they're ridding the world of one less scum, who will do anything to help his brother and thinks nothing of the lives that would be destroyed if his drugs got through to us here in Australia.

And by calling for a boycot of Singaporean products/companies etc, it just shows how amazing the Australian mentality is. First, smugglers in Indonesia, now Singapore. Maybe Australia should look at it's laws instead of scruntinising others.

Anonymous said...

I am a Singaporean and am very proud to be one.

If Nguyen Tuong Van had succeeded into bringing the drugs into Australia, his brother's debts would no doubt be settled but thousands of lives would be destroyed from the drugs he brought into the country.

I am not surprised he would do it again and again since huge money is easily earned through this.

So, is he still considered a hero to every Australians?

I am saddened by how Indonesian government is pressurised by Australian government to release the drug users in Indonesia recently, especially so since Indonesia has her strict law to follow. Thus I hope Singapore government will not follow suit with Indonesia to give in to Australia cos we have to stand firm with our law.

Irregardless whether the criminal is a Singaporean or foreigner, a punishment is a punishment we have to uphold. We have every right to protect our country and people.

I don't wish to see more lives destroyed through drugs, especially on my family and younger generations.

Come December 2, the Austalians should bid farewells to Mr Nguyen, their very own hero.

Anonymous said...

This may seem off topic, but naive as it may sound I think its connected with this issue.

As a very frequent flyer I am well aware of which filghts get booked out and when. But since last Friday I have been having great difficulty get a seat on numerous flights we normally have to singapore on a daily basis.

The receptionist at the SIA desk told me that for reasons unbeknown to her an unseasonal massive amount of bookings over the phone are turning up as no shows.

I have been advised to make my bookings in person at the airport or try my luck on standby. Sheeesh !!! Hmmmmm.

Brian said...

I lived in Singapore for 6 years and got to know the people and the island really well. I have visited it twice since then. Singaporeans are kept in the dark about what their judicial system does. I don't really think they support hanging. This is a sad case and a sad day for Singapore.

Anonymous said...

How about Singabloodypore is so easy with the Burmese? the Golden Triangle?

Anonymous said...

Dealing with Burmease Kingpins is justified because of all those millions they can invest in respectable institutions in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

If the vast majority of Singaporeans advocate the death penalty, why is it there are no takers for the job vacated by the previous excutioner ? iT is bad fro prosperity to do such a job let alone support it ?

Anonymous said...

Geee these guys might be technologically and economically advanced, especially for a country with no natural resources but socially and mentally they still belong to the middle ages. I wonder if they can freely voice their opinions publicly as they so bravely do here on this blog.

splot said...

I am a proud Singaporean, and feel compelled to comment on this. Why is it that when Singaporeans are hanged from drug trafficking, the world does not speak up? If all you do to stop this so-called cruelty is when one of your citizens is executed, shame on you, that only stand up for your opinions when one of your own is threatened. Singapore's laws cannot be bent just to suit a foreigner. When one enters Singapore, there is a warning on the immigration card of the death penalty dealt to drug traffickers. Even if Nguyen was trying to help his family, this was not a way forward. I fully support the Singaporean government and courts, and feel that other countries have no right to meddle with our internal affairs, even if their citizens are involved. Nguyen was aware of the consequences of his actions. It is true that we may have our disputes with our government, but we do voice our opinions. As you can see from previous comments, we are all proud to be Singaproean. If you took a referendum in Singapore, you would see that most of us support it. And our opinion is that this man should be hanged. Period.

Anonymous said...

Dear Proud Singaporean, you are wrong to think that only when an Australian is earmarked for the gallows that the free world makes a lot of noise as opposed to when Singaporeans are being executed.

In fact lots of effort from several groups around the world have been voiceing strong opposition to the death penalty.

You are not aware of this because of the narrow diet of information from your state controlled media.

Australians are a very democratic people relative to Singaporeans.

The thing about democracy is how much the position a country is in can afford.

A country like New Zealand can jeer at Austrlian, Singaporean, Malaysian and US laws related to securuty because they can afford to because they are tucked away at the bottom of the world. However I doubt very much if they could afford the same if New Zealand was a couple of islands in the south china sea.

I personnaly support the death penalty in cases of sensless blatant murder commited in fornt of several winesses just for the fun of it. In such a situation the perprator is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.

However, I dare you say that no innocent person has been excuted.

In the case of this young man, I have no doubt that the drugs he planned to introduce on to Australian streets would have spelt misery for several users and their families not to mention huge profits for the low life that live off such earnings.

But the fact remains that unlike his twin, he has never attempeted to do this before and is not a bonafide dealer. In fact it was his first trip overseas.

A pro would have made sure no metal was on his person during the metal detector scan.

Thanks to airport security and his foolishness and the fact that he was caught, and the fact the drugs were prevented from ending up on australian streets no real damage done.

There is such a thing called mitigating circumstances
Surely this must count for something.

Singapore's progress owes alot to the fundmentals of highly evolved ancient systems of thought preserved from China.

Hexagram 60 from the I Ching states, with words to this effect, in its Judgement ;

If a Ruler goes too far in imposing limitations on others.....they might rebel.

Therefore it is important to set limits upon limitations for success and prosperity to prevail.

The limitation must be carried out in the right way if it is to be effective.

If we seek to impose limitations on others, while evading them ourselves (like trading with the Burmese Heroin Hunta),these restrictions will always be resented and will provoke resistance.

Galling limitation should not be perservered in.People will not endure them.The more consistent such severity, the worse it is,for in the long run a reaction is unavoidable.

Harsh laws are called for in some situations but Singapore has now paid the price and evolved to a social level where they can afford to prevent crimes in more humane ways.

Harsh laws should be relaxed once the house is in order and Singapore has reached this level and is close to immune from internal or external threats.

Australia too is introducing the very laws they once critized Malaysia and Singapore of in th e past because the situation now calls for it.

No doubt these laws will be abused but at least a very prudent and wise move of inserting a "shelf life" on them is included, just incase a psychopath makes it to the top.

My definition of Psychopath : one who has no feelings let alone a conscions.

Singapore has introduced several exemplary standards that has been adopted by the world like banning of smoking on aircraft.

Community policing of housing estates, Health care for the poor aged and the sick, education and so on.

Executing this impressionable young fool who has really not been able to damage the lives of 26,000 junkies would be a perverse and useless excuse to send out a message to other " would be drug mules "...as all they would do is find or goad or threaten another weak fool into becoming a mule.

What effort is being made by Singapore and Austraila to nab the persons who recruited him in Sydney and the ones who sold it to him in Vietnam.

If we as member states of the five power pact can't do this then what hope have we of tackling even more dangerous persons lurkins in the region. Terrorists use the same paths and methods as drug dealers

The logic that half a kilo of heroin can wreck 26000 lives is a good point.

But not having anything to do with the Head Honchos who run Burma would save millions of lives.

Tackle the cause not the symptoms.

GS Hill said...

I find no fault whatever in Singapore's decision to consistently execute those who traffic unlawfully in heroin and other addictive drugs. Those drugs cause a goodly number of deaths and ruined lives. The executions work to deter drug trafficking in Singapore.

Singapore is a more disciplined society than its Western counterparts, and the discipline greatly improves the quality of life for law-abiding Singaporeans.

Westerners may bemoan the barbarity of the rattan cane and the noose, but incarceration in the U.S. involves a lot of rape and brutalization of inmates, who are unable to support their families for a significant period of time while learning to become cleverer criminals from the hardened and depraved souls who surround them.

Singapore's system works. It deters crime. It creates a society in which a lady may walk the docks at night without fear of being accosted. It creates a society where violent crime is rare.

I wish my American society would learn from them. We need more discipline, and less crime.

Anonymous said...

" drugs cause a goodly number of deaths and ruined lives. "

....so does the manufacture, sale and use of land mines that kill and maime millions of innocent chidren around the world".

Is it illegal to deal with land mines in Singapore ? Is there a death penalty for persons who traffic in land mines ?

Anonymous said...

I guess its ok to peddel in death as long as its approved by the government and as long as it does not kill people in your own country and as long as it makes a profit.

Low life is low life, be it drug peddler or mine peddler.

Singapore is one of the few countries that refused to sign the treaty to ban landmines. Singapore, like Pakistan, is one of the major antipersonnel landmine producers in the developing world.

This concern for " lives that the heroin could ruin" they are touting about is pure hipporacy.Don't buy it.

I dare any Singaporean who supports the death sentence come out and say that no innocent person has been executed ever.

And for all of you judgemental folks out there, i say remember your words, sleep well, have sweet dreams, enjoy you meals on Friday but don't look up to our common creator and ask why me ? when all of a sudden your world gets turned upside down.

Anonymous said...

Singapore links 'aiding drug trade'
Published in the South China Morning Post. May 13, 1998

SINGAPORE'S links with the Burmese junta are vital in propping up the military regime and channelling drug profits into legitimate business, an article claims.

Although Singapore habitually executes heroin couriers, the government and its businessmen had become firm friends with the regime and its drug-trafficking supporters, said American risk assessment magazine Covert Action Quarterly.

Singapore's link with the junta was also central to "the expansion of the heroin trade", US-based Burmese economics professor Mya Maung told the magazine.

The city-state is Burma's biggest trading partner and foreign investor: more than half that investment is allegedly with ex-heroin kingpin Lo Hsing-han, whose son Steven Law is banned from the US on suspicion of trafficking.

The article claimed "both Burmese generals and drug lords have used Singapore's liberal banking laws and money laundering opportunities".

In 1991, for example, US$400 million was passed through a Singapore bank as downpayment for a shipment of mainland arms and, given the state of Burma's economy then, that money could only have been drug money, said one military analyst.

In 1988, Singapore had even shipped arms to Burma amid world condemnation of a massacre of pro-democracy protesters.

Singapore had also acted as the middle-man for arms shipments from countries like Israel and Belgium.

A Singaporean Cabinet minister was quoted yesterday as saying his government rejected Western criticism of Burma. "It is easier to criticise than to build," Minister of Information and Arts George Yeo said during a visit to Burma on Monday.

Anonymous said...

PRE-MEDITATED MURDER = A CRIME (even more obvious)
Nguyen Tuong Van made a mistake. A HUGE one. He knew the risks involved in drug trafficking in Singapore. But his defense was that he needed the money to help his brother. There would have been better ways to do that of course, but wouldn't you do anything you could to help your family?
The death penalty is not the answer. It often discriminates against minorities and the impoverished. Hmmm, could that be happening here? The same charge in Australia would get him 5 years in prison. Even less in Canada. The fact is, the death penalty isn't an effective method of deterring crime! Obviously people are still willing to take the risk in the face of possible death. It is an archaic, inadequate, abhorrent, ineffective method of punishment that spits in the face of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which each person has the right to LIFE, LIBERTY and JUSTICE and that NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING FORMS OF TORTURE OR PUNISHMENT. Any nation that upholds the death penalty, including the U.S, chooses to ignore the very basic of all human rights. Its hard to believe that governments are still allowed to murder people in cold-blood in the name of justice. Where is the justice in letting a 25 year old man hang for a non-violent crime? Where is the justice in taking another human being's life, period? In no way is his crime excuseable or condoned, but for Christ's sake people!! It's 2005 not 1805!! If Nguyen hangs this Friday, there might be a blurb in the papers, some people will shake their heads and say, "What a shame". But then he'll be forgotten...except by his family and friends, who will cry for him...his mother and twin brother will be left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. For anyone that says he'll get what he deserves...SHAME ON YOU. I HOPE YOU NEVER HAVE TO KNOW THE PHYSICAL PAIN AND MENTAL TORTURE THAT NGUYEN KNOWS AT THIS MOMENT AND AT THE MOMENT OF HIS DEATH. I urge everyone else to make the effort to at least send an email to the Singaporean president begging for clemency. You can find the address at the napnt.org website. Check out the Amnesty International website for letter writing tips.

splot said...

I am aware that Singaporean media is state controlled. I am also aware that there are groups in Singapore and elsewhere asking for Singapore to stop the death penalty. But here's a simple fact: many Australians would not be rallying to stop this without Nguyen's case. There have been cases of some innocent people who have been executed. But, for one, Nguyen is certainly not innocent. It does not matter whether he is a first offender, or second, or third. He was caught with drugs, professional or otherwise. If Singapore were to relax its tough stance, we would not have the low crime rate which we presently enjoy. Our leaders are certainly NOT psychopaths, nor do they discriminate. Do you sincerely think that they are giving him the death sentence because he is Australian? He was carrying 25 times the legal limit for heroin! There have been reports of locals who carried 20g and were also executed. If the death penalty were not in place, many more would use Singapore as a transit stop for drugs. With the 26000 doses, many more could have died.
For those pleading for clemency from the President, I wish you luck, but I am sorry to say that I do not support you.

Anonymous said...

Look! you guys can excute as many drug couriers as you like but the high profits will certainly keep motivating other fools to take on the risk.

If Singapore is truly sincere in tackling the problem they will do it at the source and not have financial dealings with the likes of Kingpins in Burma.

How do Sigaporeans who support the death penalty recoicile this fact with whilst trading with mucho big time drug dealers in Burma ??????

Are your laws consistent or do they only apply to certain people as opposed to the those in positions of power ?

Singapore has lost the moral high ground with this two faced policy and tranished its image.

I personally do not support drug dealers and have seen the misery and spin off effects it has on a society like theft, murder, prostitition and decay.

If we can tackle terrorism at its source or havens why can't or why are we reluctant to tackle the drug problem at its source ?

I guess it all boils down to which makes a bigger profit or loss.

I have always respected Singapore's laws irrespective of wheather I condone them or not, but this two faced policy of dealings with drug peddlers, two bit mules or big time businessmen and politicians, leads me to think the whole show is a con.

Singaporeans who tout the moral virtues of their harsh laws are brainwashed, booring and naive but they think they are really smart cookies.

There more to like than worshipping money, shopping, watching TV and playing nintendo with ones cell phone on the MRT.

Its time to snap out of this illusion and deal with the real criminals.

You daughter or son could be easily conned, hyptonized or influenced into dealing with drugs, with or without their knowledge if they want to keep that jobs and meet loan repayments.

I feel sorry for you poor deprived sods.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye, my hero.
Angels be with you.

Anonymous said...

All this is total bullshit. In my opinion, Van-whatever deserved the death sentence. If Singapore bowed to international pressure, then they would not be able to uphold their laws with pride. Why single out Singapore when America practices capital punishment too? It's simple. He broke the law, he should pay for it. That is all there is to it. Think of all the sad idiots who would die if the 26,000 doses of heroin were given to them.

You say that Singapore has had dealings with kingpins in Burma, and I ask you this: PROOF? What proof do you have to substantiate this baseless claim?

Anonymous: He made a mistake? Of course the sad sod made a bloody mistake! If I went out to kill someone, and before I got hanged I told them that I made a mistake, would I be spared?

And I ask you this, where is the justice in letting people die from drug-consumption?

Again, it boils down to cause-and-effect. Action and reaction. If you choose to disobey the laws, will you not be punished for it?

Anonymous said...

No one is asking Singapore to kow tow to external pressure. Singapore well placed to evolve its methods of law enforcement beyond logic and fundamentals akin to the Ming Dynasty.

Geocentricity and lack of input from intellectual debate, a hallmark of Singapore’s so called democratic society, may be why you feel only Singapore is being victimised, not to mentioned an ingrained inferiority complex due to colonial hangover.

Upholding the law is not an easy task but how one goes about doing it reflects on his character, his upbringing, his values, environment and cultural background and inherited mentality.

Singaporeans are historically not an unruly bunch of uncivilized mad fanatics that need harsh laws to keep them in line. Singapore is a first world country unlike highly populated China and India where life is cheap. You guys got to snap out of this delusion and wake up to your potential and set another example to the world.

Indeed if the heroin got through heeps of sad idiots would suffer while the importer laughs all the way to the bank. But a hit of heroin in itself has no in-built guidance system. Its not a self loaded cruise guided flying syringe that seeks out a user all on its own.

There’s been heroine all around me all the while and I have had good luck, reasonably good family, teachers, friends and upbringing so far that’s insulated me from the need for this curse. I'm lucky, You are lucky, Nguyen-tuong
was'nt. His mom was a pregnant refugee. She did not have the extra facotrs that an immigrant fro the UK would have had. She could not speak english and less opportunites would have been available to her. Her twins grew up in fairly rustic neighbourhoods.
And lucky you feels sure enough to pass judgement.

We can’t simply lay all the balme on a two bit importer. The idiot who gives him business by shooting up, the circumstances of fate he’s born into, like say a poor socio economic background, lack of opportunity and society as a whole are also to blame.

Lots of heroine users and traffickers have gone on to complete degrees in prison and today make up a very potent force in helping victims. This is the mark of a civilized society.
Your response is typical of a lot of narrow minded Singapore deprived and restricted from thinking outside of the box. It really shows that apart from shopping, shopping, shopping and nintendo, and cell phone games on the MRT, the ability to think creatively has been badly stifled and controlled.

What proof do you need that Singapore peddles in death ? Try pulling out your finger for a moment and visit a mine factory in your country or visit Cambodia and look at the thousands of kids maimed from mines….or don’t tell me they don’t allow such information on local media.

I can’t give you any proof of deals with kingpins because you may be thrown in to prison just for reading it or risk having logs on your computer or ISP server sniffed at and used against you in court. But its freely available on the net provided you are still not in denial or mistaking real from false national pride.

The logic that justifies the death sentence in this case is a trait of the thought patterns of a Barbarian, no different from that of the low life that make a living from gambling, drugs, money laundering, arms dealing and prostitution.

You should get senior citizen to describe Singapore’s early beginings to you.

It all boils down to supply and demand. Remove the demand and the suppliers go out of business. Kill an insect and more will come.

All great civilizations decay from within and I think Singapore is now in decline.

Say Ahem !! …were you thought to obey and disallowed to ask questions in school. ? Was it forbidden to challenge formulas and stuff in your history, maths or physics school books ? Were you canned on the buttocks by your parents and teachers ?

A Singaporean CEO proudly told me recently that he had to bend over in front of the whole school and withstand the pain and humilation of six of the best…and the best part of it was the guy blurted out in front of other CEO’s from North America and Europe that he was glad it happened as it made him what he is today. Then came a cleaner and rudley told him to move and he immediately and instinctively moved as ordered. And guess what all the other Singaporeans complied.This was in a foreign country. The rest of us just held our ground and stared at the hotel cleaner who never even dared ask us to move let alone even look at us.

I reckon fellows like you have had your innate birth rights twisted by your governmen, a government which peddles in land mines that causes untold missery.

Like you said it all boils down to cause and effect. You will be judged the same way as you judge others.

When you see strange illnesses befalling persons you love, remember your words. Sleep well.

BrandonD said...

Look, the Aussies can whinge all they want. Come next month, the Bali nine will get their day in court, and van nguyen will be dropped like a hot potato and never be mentioned again. It will be put in the back burner like the last guy to be hanged in Australia in late 1960s, or the two Aussies in Malaysia in the early 90s... until the media picks it up and talks about it with mind numbing frequency everyday for the next 4 weeks. Such is the fickleness of news media.

Do you seriously believe you can "have a fair go" at the authorities in Singapore and expect to get away with it?
A drug mule will reoffend- there is no way he would stop at such a lucrative trade, and will never change because drug pushers who force their hands. As sad as it may be in Nguyen's case, the city state has stopped one more drug mule with a sob story. Which drug pusher facing death does not have a sob story to tell, or as Lex Lasry of his client, "reformed and changed into a new person"? Do we then let him go? What of the legal system then? How unbelivably naive to think they will reform upon getting caught.

Singapore is not some place where a little sobbing and wearing a burka would get you away scot free. If anyone steps into Australia and commits any crime, he will be dealt with, by the rules of the land.

Boycott Optus, or Singapore Airlines, or don't buy Singapore products if you feel that that is the way to go. Petty concerns and angry words spoken in a heated moment, and squeezed for maximum effect by Kim Beazley and Phillip Ruddock. There are still a lot of goodwill amongst the two nations, and not easily broken by what I think is Singapore's right to exercise its own "barbaric" version of the law, as it is the right of Australia to exercise theirs.

If they do not share the Aussie point of view, Singapore is suddenly a "barbaric, uncouth and unworthy" and "rogue Chinese port"? What an incredibly narrow view of the world.. as narrow as saying Australia is saying this and that because it is a land made up of "descendents of convicts"? Come on.

Stop being all high and mighty by adopting the "moral high ground", and get a grip on reality. This is a different culture you are dealing with. It is seen as "cold and evil" in Australia, but "firm and just" in Asia- who is ever right in the rhetoric?

The sad truth is that the Singapore government has been extremely heavy handed in all cases of crimes, not just drugs. Its has a mandatory death sentence for mere possesion of firearms whether or not you have the intention to shoot, as well as applying the maximum penalty for a wide range of crimes. It is that heavy handedness that must change for the good of the Singapore.

It will change eventually, but not now.

Given it went from "strongest ally in Asia" to "barbaric and clinical" in a the media frenzy, I would be surprised to see the Singaporean government crack and let van nguyen go. The Aussie media has condemned van nguyen to an early grave when they went ballistic over it. Never learnt from the Schapelle Corby case, and will repeat itself in the Bali nine case next month. Wait for it.

Anonymous said...

Australians will always reserve the right to express themselves.

We allow our kids to answer back. We know the right to question authority makes them stronger and not a bunch of weak complying slaves seething with pent up hidden anger,living in fear.

We have the right to protest for justice, eat bubble gum, draw cartoons of our leaders, make big mistakes and pay the price but not with our lives as far as the law of the land is concerned.

As such its parochicial to assume our psyches are going to dance to vibes that have shaped and repressed its Singapore counterpart.

Robots are good value. The unquestioning discipline, obedience, loyalty of Singaporeans who mostly have never had a chance to think for themselves is something the unscrupulous readily exploit.

Things in Australia are not all perfect. The country is not beyond criticism but the pluses still way out number the minuses.

Its our imperfections and ability to take criticism that has always pointed the way to improvement and a better society.

Extermination of the weak is not the Australian way is definitely not something ingrained in Australsian values.

The form of democracy we practise here is socially at least 100 years ahead of your dictatorial on party regiem that's too weak to allow healthy debate and resorts to brute force when challenged.

Its easy to maintain the rule of law with harsh measures but histroy tells such measures have no duration and it traps the very people who enforce them.

The average Singaporean has a greater addiction for money than drugs. Quantity in life matters more as opposed to quality of life.
Perhaps this is Singapore's real danger.

Times have changed since Singapore was a British penal colony with law and order well under control these days. Surely this allows room for reform short of revolution or being flooded with drugs.

Don't be afraid to try this and please ask your government to stop export anti personnel mines ( if you dare) as it kills and maimes innocent children by the thousands, no different from peddeling heroine for a profit.

Its immoral not to practise what one preaches to the world.

School children all around the world are not going to buy the pseudo morals Singapore and their leaders so proudly tout around, especially once their teachers, friends and parents show them pictures of limbless kids in poor countries. Now go and chew on that one.

Anonymous said...

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Southeast Asian lawmakers want Myanmar expelled from the ASEAN regional grouping unless it frees democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners within a year, Malaysia's state media said on Saturday.

ASEAN was making a great error by not forcing Myanmar's government to fulfill its promises of democratic reforms, news agency Bernama quoted Zaid Ibrahim, a Malaysian MP and head of the ASEAN lawmakers' group, as saying.

Myanmar said on Saturday it had extended the house arrest of Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi by another six months. She has already spent about 10 of the last 15 years either in prison or under house arrest.

Zaid, speaking for ASEAN lawmakers, said Yangon's military junta had done nothing to introduce reforms in Myanmar, despite promising them several times.

By expelling Myanmar, ASEAN would at least erase the stigma attached to the grouping because of Yangon's membership, said Zaid, a member of Malaysia's ruling coalition.

The ASEAN lawmakers' group includes legislators from Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

It aims to work for the unconditional release of Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi and other political detainees, as well as for a representative National Convention to be set up in Myanmar.

ASEAN's 10-nation membership is made up of the six countries as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.



Anonymous said...

I agree with the statement which is made earlier "The limitation must be carried out in the right way if it is to be effective." I'm an Asian-American, and regularly doing business for my company in Singapore. I always consider my self as living life, and treating others in a fair way. As we've known that almost all countries in Asia are not as advancing as the Western countries in terms of social, and political ideologies (please point out an example, if I'm wrong on this). But there are reasons for this. During the last few centuries, Asian countries have had hard times of recuperating their economies after different wars. Without the aids from the West, their societies are less likely to progress to the level of what they are now. Anyway, the countries are as advanced as the governments can be: good leaders are not necessarily effective rulers, and vice versa. The unification of Germany, and the establishment of the EU are the examples how Western societies progress without isolating themselves. Let's see whether the Asian countries can do the same. So for whatever reasons why Singapore has strict laws is their own business. But, in my opinion, a civilized (a true democratic) society must have a balanced judicial system in which different ideologies can be served. Perhaps, Singaporeans from the current generations have not been able to do differently from what the government has wanted. In final, on earth, whenever people are trying to create a "heaven", and a "hell". Then you will end up having more conflicts.

Anonymous said...

Make no secret that Singaporeans/Singaporos are some of the die-hard white asslickers in Asia.

Anonymous said...

This might sound hypothetical, what if Schapelle Corby was busted in Singapore and Nyuyen Tuong Van caught in Indonesia....

Anonymous said...

I still can't get over Singaporeans using Singlish at home. Its sounds DISGUSTING! What a bunch of non white non yellow monsters they are.

Anonymous said...

"This might sound hypothetical, what if Schapelle Corby was busted in Singapore and Nyuyen Tuong Van caught in Indonesia"

You forget Schapelle's mom promised to complain to Bush if Howard did not do anything...guess what she would have done if hypothetical came true...like hire Arnold Schwarzenegger to break her out of Changi !!

Anonymous said...

If Schappele was busted in Singapore they would not have dared hang her because she's white.
Several europeans busted in Singapore have had their death sentences commuted after their governments exerted pressure but in this case it was an Asian mule plus the fact they knew Howard and the general ockers would not have minded it so much as with the case of a white Aussie.

P.Howe, Perth.

Anonymous said...

All the so called “exhausted efforts” by Aussie government were superficial pretexts.
Days before the execution was carried out. PM Howard already told the world that there was zero chance to save Nyugen and gave up all hope. And there was not going to be retaliations from his government with the death of Nyugen. All these messages were giving Li’s regime green lights to pull the trigger without bothering to consider a last minute clemency.
You don’t throw the towel until the game is over.

start making money said...

Thanks, that was worth noting.

Steve @