12 Feb 2007

Singapore detainee for 18 years dies in London

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday February 8, 2007

Singapore- Ho Toon Chin, a former trade unionist detained in Singapore for 18 years, died in London from a stroke at the age of 70, news reports said Friday.

Ho served one of the longest detentions without a trial in the city-state. He was released in 1982 and became manager in a small media company.

Ho had a stroke on Sunday and died in a hospital on Tuesday, his son Hehao, 21, told The Straits Times from Britain. Ho will becremated in London on Monday.

Ho was arrested in 1963 when the government nabbed more than 100left-wing politicians and trade unionists for alleged subversive activities.

He was then general secretary of the Singapore National Seamen's Union, which was later banned.

On his release, Ho disputed the government's claim that his ideological outlook had changed and that he no longer wanted to be involved in trade union activities.

He claimed the government's statement was an attempt to "cover up" its failure to break the will of political detainees like himself, the newspaper said.

He subsequently married and went to Britain, but retained his Singaporean citizenship.

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency

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