2 Dec 2005

Australian warning over hanging

Watch the BBC News Broadcast that was shown today (2nd December 2005)
Australian drug smuggler Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, has been executed in Singapore, despite pleas for clemency.

Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock described the sentence as "barbaric". Andrew Harding reports from Singapore.

Australian warning over hanging

Nguyen's body will be flown back to Melbourne for burial

Australian PM John Howard has warned Singapore that its execution of Nguyen Tuong Van may harm links between the peoples of their two countries.
The 25-year-old Melbourne man, of Vietnamese descent, was hanged at Changi prison before dawn as hundreds held vigils in Australia and Singapore.

Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong said his country had decided that "the law should take its course".

Canberra said mitigating factors should have been taken into account.

One of Nguyen's lawyers, Julian McMahon, said his client prayed until he was required to walk the 50m to the execution chamber.

He died "optimistically and with strength and died a very courageous death," Mr McMahon said.

"And I understand that as he did so other death row prisoners sang hymns and other things in various languages to support him," he added.

Nguyen's body, wrapped in a white shroud, was taken to a funeral home for embalming. His family is flying the body back to Melbourne for burial.

'Clinical response'

Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told the BBC he was "terribly disappointed" by the news of the execution.

He said Nguyen always maintained he had smuggled the drugs to earn enough money to pay off legal bills of A$30,000 (£13,000) incurred by his twin brother, a former heroin addict.

Vigils in pictures

Mr Ruddock reiterated his earlier comments that death by hanging was "barbaric".

John Howard said he told his Singaporean counterpart "that I believe it will have an effect on the relationship on a people-to-people, population-to-population basis."

He said he felt sympathy for Nguyen's mother, and had been disappointed by Singapore's "clinical response" to Australia's request that she be allowed to hug her son before his death. The Singapore authorities had only allowed them to hold hands.

But Mr Howard rejected calls for trade and military boycotts against Singapore, one of Australia's strongest allies in Asia.

He added that the execution should serve as a warning to other young Australians.

"Don't imagine for a moment that you can risk carrying drugs anywhere in Asia without suffering the most severe consequences," he said.

Silent vigils

Nguyen Tuong Van was convicted three years ago of carrying nearly 400g (14 ounces) of heroin at Singapore airport while travelling from Cambodia to Australia.

Singapore has some of the strictest drug trafficking laws in the world, and anyone found with 15g of heroin faces a mandatory death penalty.

Nguyen had said he was trying to help his brother

Prime Minister Lee said Nguyen's case had been through the full legal process, and pleas for clemency by the Australian government had been considered.

But he said the case involved "an enormous amount" of drugs - the equivalent of 26,000 doses.

"We take a very serious view of drug trafficking, and the penalty is death," he said in Berlin.

A vigil by anti-death penalty campaigners took place outside the prison overnight before the dawn execution.

And hundreds of supporters gathered in Nguyen's home city of Melbourne at a church to mark the moment of his execution. A large church bell rang 25 times - once for every year of his life.

At the same time, dozens of people held a silent vigil outside the Singapore High Commission in the capital Canberra.

Nguyen was the first Australian to be executed overseas in more than a decade.


Anonymous said...


Let's also light a candle for other victims of heroin.

ReggĂ­e! said...

Let us sh*t upon his grave!

Had he succeded with his smuggling mission, 100s of our Australian children would have been at peril for their lives.

Let us be thankful that he was stopped in Singapore.

ngu yen stupid ghost said...


Anonymous said...

Oh actions against Singapore ...don't make me laugh!!!

When they see our uniquely Singapore attactions especially the casino, they will come pouring into Singapore.

Singapore is right and Australia is wrong. Their citizen broke our laws and has to pay with his life. We can do what we want in Singapore, this is our country we control our own country.

All those emotional cry babies in Australia must understand what type of country Singapore is. We are a tough country where citizens are left to homeless if they have no money, where the govt does nothing for the poor and elderly, where foreign workers are constant arriving in great numbers so that local worker's wages are depress and miserable. In other words, Singapore is TOUGH, Singaporeans are TOUGH, we are not a cry baby nation that morns the death of a single citizen who was just a salesman.

Singapore survives and its leadership thrives because of the pain Singaporeans are willing to take. This is what makes the PAP leadership great, they are able to make people accept all this pain without a whimper of protest. No Western liberal democracy can ever do this.

Anonymous said...

reggie: u're just a fucking piece of shit!

anon 8:29 AM: pls, since when is any of s'pore's attractions unique? except uniquely lousy! s'pore is wrong and australia is right, u better just stay put here and never ever leave the country, otherwise hope u get executed in the next place u visit or tour.

s'poreans r NOT tough, they just know how to complain and complain about other selfish things in the newspaper and r a bunch of kiasu idiots. PAP can make ppl accept anything without a protest cos they brainwash the citizens to become unthinking morons.

dats y u r one.

let's just see how long more s'pore can surive - it has no natural resources and even locals don't want to give birth dats y so many mainland chinese ppl r "imported", soon they will take over (and i hope it happens, then u will all learn ur lesson)

Anonymous said...

you sound so singaporean yet you choose to bite the hand that feeds you. why dont you move to australia? and when some white bloke shouts fucking chink at you, run to the toilet and start whimpering.

ngu yen stupid ghost said...

Anonymous said...

you sound so singaporean yet you choose to bite the hand that feeds you. why dont you move to australia? and when some white bloke shouts fucking chink at you, run to the toilet and start whimpering.

muahahaha you cool man long live the singaporean short live all drug dealer.!!!

Anonymous said...

to anon 8:55 PM: yes i'm in the midst of plans to migrate and no i won't run to the toilet and whimper cos that's what only u would do. racism is everywhere (including in s'pore) so there's no big deal. hope u get dunked to death during one of ur in-camp trainings :)