Galloping into the Year of the Wood Horse

First amongst the traditions for Chinese New Year is to give your home a good spring clean. Recent new regulations suggest that the Chinese domestic shipping industry will be embarking on a phasing out of older tonnage whilst some of the major Chinese owners seem to already be following tradition and have earmarked some of their old ladies for scrap. With the outlook for the Year of the Horse looking better than the preceding Year of the Snake, many other owners might be tempted to give ageing tonnage another quick lap round the block, so perhaps a more strict adherence to this custom could give us all a better chance of prosperity in this equine year.

In advance of the celebrations, it is also traditional to pay off your debts. Improved markets mean that we haven’t got charterers pleading poverty to the same extent as the last few years, but no doubt there are quite a few European bankers who will be hoping their clients follow this particular tradition.

With new clothes traditionally being worn on the first day of the New Year, the run up to the celebrations sees a veritable shopping frenzy, particularly for shoes. We seem to be seeing the shopping tradition being followed in the newbuilding market to an alarming degree, with that old favourite, the VLCC, making a particularly dramatic comeback to the orderbook in the last few months of the old year. All these new ships might not be coming out during the Year of the Horse but does this rush to the shops mean the Year of the Monkey and Rooster in 2016 and 2017 will be grim? Only time will tell, but perhaps if shipowners follow another tradition of not buying new clothes for a month after Lunar New Year, we might be spared the worst.

Whether you are consulting an astrologer or one of the numerous research reports which drops on your desk every day, trying to make sense of the year ahead has never been more difficult. The optimists seem to be convinced that this year will be better than the last, and based on how awful shipping markets were for the first nine months of 2013, that shouldn’t be too difficult. Others point to the wild volatility we have already experienced in the first month of this calendar year as evidence that the horse is going to give us all a wild ride. How ever it turns out, may be it be a happy and healthy year for you all.

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Galloping into the New Year

A sea of shoppers and tourists throng Temple Street in Singapore’s Chinatown district as in the weeks prior, the Chinese community prepared to welcome the Year of the Wood Horse in the Chinese astrological calendar. This year, the Chinese Lunar New Year falls on January 31.

While decorative horses ‘gallop by’ in the background, the giant yellow signboard against the facade People’s Park Complex is a reminder that nothing stands still. It belongs to Five Stars Tours, which abruptly closed down on January 8, leaving thousands of passengers who had bought bus tickets and tour packages from the tour agency stranded.

Some 6,000 passengers, mostly Malaysians who had booked express bus tickets to return home for Chinese New Year, scrambled to make alternative plans as they found their plans trampled by Five Star Tours’s closure.

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Chinese New Year 2014 - Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year 2014 (The Spring Festival) falls on January 31, 2014, and is the year of the Horse. Year of the Horse is the seventh year of Chinese Zodiac. Chinese people group years into a twelve year cycle according to lunar year, and assign each year an animal symbol, which called Chinese Zodiac. The twelve animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. A person born in the year of a particular animal is said to have the traits of that animal.

Generally, Chinese people believe that those born in the year of the Horse are mostly hardworking and considerate, though maybe a little arrogant.

Characteristics of people born in the year of the Horse
People born in the year of the horse are generally energetic and out-going, ingenious in communication, and most of them always want to be in the limelight. They are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn and sometimes bad-tempered. They like entertainment and really like to join in large crowds and parties. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although they don’t have much sense of perseverance.

Horoscope and Numerology Elements of people born in the year of the Horse

Earthly Branch of Birth Year: wuWu Xing (The Five Elements): FireAuspicious Directions: northeast, southwest and northwest
Lucky Colors: brown, yellow, purple; Avoid: blue, white, golden
Lucky Numbers: 2, 3, 7; Avoid 1, 6, 5Lucky Flowers: calla lily, jasmine, marigold
Zodiac Sign Compatibility - Best match: tiger, sheep, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit

Years of the Horse:
Start Date
End Date
25 January 1906
12 February 1907
11 February 1918
31 January 1919
30 January 1930
16 February 1931
15 February 1942
4 February 1943
3 February 1954
23 February 1955
21 January 1966
8 February 1967
7 February 1978
27 January 1979
27 January 1990
14 February 1991
12 February 2002
31 January 2003
31 January 2014
18 February 2015
17 February 2026
5 February 2027
4 February 2038
23 January 2039

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In Chinese Year of the Horse, dogs will have their day

China will ring in the Year of the Horse this Friday - and like with any fresh start, questions abound about wealth, health and matters of the heart.

For many in China, Feng Shui masters and their astrological readings and predictions are merely a fun activity to pass the time. But for the superstitious, horoscope experts provide important guidance for the coming year.

In recent years, NBC News has had the pleasure of consulting with Feng Shui master, Chen Shuaifu, the 61-year old chairman of the Chinese Feng Shui Association, which has more than 50,000 members.

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Flying Stars feng shui for 2014

The Year of the Wood Horse signifies all the vitality, excitement and strength of its namesake, and brings a year filled with adventures and challenges. But before you go riding headfirst into the New Year, you may like to find out what Flying Stars the Horse will bring to your home this year.

Prior to revealing the best sectors, we will dish out the unpleasant ones first as these are the ones you may want to pay close attention to so that you may know what to avoid in 2014. The Northwest sector is probably the most dangerous sector as the #5 Yellow Star resides here this year.

For the safety of the property's occupants, you may want take great pains to keep this sector quiet and inactive due to the #5 Star's association with calamities, injuries and accidents. If avoidance is impossible, place metal objects made of copper, brass or iron to defuse the negative effects of the #5 Star - but do not aggravate this sector by performing any renovations or ground breaking.

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Feng Shui Masters at Odds Over Prospects for Year of the Horse

The Year of the Horse, which begins Friday, is a dangerous one for investing, according to Master Koon, a Hong Kong-based feng shui master.

The Chinese zodiac runs on a 60-year cycle, as the 12 animals occur in combination with each of the five elements of traditional Chinese cosmology: wood, water, fire, metal, and earth. The “wood horse,” which is up this year, represents “instability and disruption,” Master Koon said. A previous wood horse year, 1894, saw war break out between China and Japan – hardly an auspicious sign.

“Property, the stock market, the economy, politics—they’re all unstable,” said Master Koon. “So investments need to be conservative.” Master Koon’s analysis flatly contradicts that of brokerage CLSA, which argued in a recent report that the Year of the Horse would be a good one for stocks. Based on its own survey of five feng shui diviners, CLSA calculates the Hong Kong stock market’s benchmark Hang Seng index will likely rise 28% over the next year.

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Chinese can’t say neigh to feng shui in year of the horse

Asia may have modernized over the years, but Chinese around the region still turn to local geomancers for advice as the year of the wooden horse gallops in.

Seeking advice on feng shui, an ancient science aimed at creating balance, may be a case of "I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm still afraid of them."

While feng shui is usually used to position objects and in architecture, the more superstitious believe it can divine the future, and many seek out feng shui masters and geomancers to choose auspicious dates for life events, such as marriages.

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Saddle up for Year of Horse

Conflicts, disasters, record high temperatures, an economic chill in Asia and more trouble for Justin Bieber — the upcoming Year of the Horse is set to be a dramatic one, say Hong Kong feng shui masters.

With the Year of the Snake slithering into history, they say that the incoming Lunar New Year beginning on Friday is going to be the kind of horse that you shouldn’t stand behind — because it incorporates the volatile element of fire.

“With this being the Year of the Wood Horse, and with wood being very combustible, there will be a lot of scandals, conflicts, explosions and arguments,” celebrity feng-shui master Alion Yeo told AFP.

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Ready for the ride?

THE Year of the Horse will be full of vigour and will be marked by increased productivity and prosperity. The global economy will continue to improve, says feng shui expert David Koh, founder of Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Sciences.

“The world economy appears to have bottomed out as predicted last year, and is slowly recovering,” says Koh. Industries that fare well will be Water- and Metal-related. Water-related industries include insurance, finance, banking, fisheries, sea freight, trading, night entertainment, and businesses such as coffee shops, launderettes, spas and gyms.

The Metal-related sector covers the legal profession, civil service, defence and security, engineering, machinery, gas and petroleum, mining, automobile, transport, aerospace, airlines, sports goods, air courier services and tourism.

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Galloping into year of challenges

The Year of the Wood Horse gallops into the foray today, signalling the start of a new year of challenges for Malaysia's economy and businesses, according to a feng shui expert.

Feng Shui Gateway Sdn Bhd founder Louis Loh (pix)said that the nation's economic health could be less than ideal this year as a result of external instability and advised those who plan to start a new business this year to reconsider. Loh based his reading on the country's yin wood (soft wood) character in the bazi (destiny code), which is calculated using its Independence Day on Aug 31, 1957.

Bazi belongs to the Chinese metaphysic sciences, literally meaning "eight characters" in Chinese and are also called "four pillars of destiny". It takes into account the birth date, which comprises year, month, day and hour, to determine a person or country's, unique personality and potential.

related: Saddle up for a bumpy Year of the Horse, warn H.K. astrologers

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Horsing around and other CNY happenings

There’s been a surprising amount of activity and buzz in Hong Kong in the lead up to this year’s Chinese New Year.

With Christmas just behind us, I half expected things to remain pretty quiet until after the Lunar New Year, but it’s been the complete opposite.

With such a short window between the two, perhaps there’s more to squeeze in? But what ever it is, what a way to get 2014 started.
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The Year of the Horse: Ringing in Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

For more than a billion people worldwide, the true start to the year arrives Jan. 31, Chinese New Year. Welcome to the year 4712! With the coming Year of the Horse (the Wooden Horse, to be precise), the Lunar Festival promises an extreme year of adventure and romance, and also chaos and market fluctuations

Chinese New Year is the kind of holiday we can all get behind: a 15-day celebration centering around food and family, with traditions designed to attract luck and fortune. Nowhere are the festivities more exciting than in Hong Kong, a vibrant East-meets-West city dripping with glamour and rooted in tradition.

With 7 million people crammed onto a landmass one-third the size of Rhode Island, Hong Kong is often thought of as a pulsating urban jungle. Indeed, you'll find a city awash in skyscrapers, Michelin-starred restaurants, dapper British bankers and flashy stores eager to eager to max out your credit card.

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Horse Year won't be easy, but creativity is key in facing challenges

FENG  shui experts predict   that 2014, the Year of the  Wood Horse,  will be    another challenging year,   but the people    will   be more creative in adapting to  limited resources and power.

Good Feng Shui analyst Master Kenny Hoo labelled the year as "The Noble Year", as it was associated with the "Noble Qi", which are strong, challenging, transformative and surprising.

"There will be lots of ups and downs in all fields and sectors, especially in the first half of the year. However, things will be more stable from July."

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8 things Singaporeans are searching for on Google

A colourful fireworks display lighting up the night sky over the Floating Platform @ Marina Bay to mark the official start of the River Hongbao on 30 January 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KEVIN LIM CP

What are most Singaporeans looking for this Chinese New Year?

Google search results show how Singaporeans prepare for the festive season.

The following are the most popular Chinese New Year-related search terms on Google from Jan 1 to Jan 28:

1. Chingay 2014

2. Pineapple tart recipe

3. Abalone

4. Horse

5. Feng Shui 2014

6. Chinese New Year

7. Chinatown Singapore

8. Lunar calendar 2014

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Gong Xi Fa Cai 恭喜发财

Xīnnián hǎo 2014  Greetings

Xin Nian Kuai Le 新年快乐
  • meaning: Happy New Year
  • pronounced: sin nien guai le
Gong Xi Fa Cai 恭喜发财
  • meaning: Congratulations and be prosperous
  • pronounced: kong si fa jai
Wan Shi Ru Yi 万事如意
  • meaning: May everything you do works out as you wished
  • pronounced: wan se ru i
Zhu Li Meng En 主里蒙恩
  • meaning: God blesses you
  • pronounced: cu li meng en
Chinatown lights up to usher in Chinese Year of the Horse



Nian Ye Fan 年夜飯 (Reunion Dinner)

A reunion dinner (年夜飯)

reunion dinner, named as "Nian Ye Fan", is held on New Year's Eve during which family members gather for celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year's Eve dinner is very large and sumptuous and traditionally includes dishes of meat (namely, pork and chicken) and fish. Most reunion dinners also feature a communal hot pot as it is believed to signify the coming together of the family members for the meal.

Most reunion dinners (particularly in the Southern regions) also prominently feature specialty meats (e.g. wax-cured meats like duck and Chinese sausage) and seafood (e.g. lobster and abalone) that are usually reserved for this and other special occasions during the remainder of the year.In most areas, fish (traditional Chinese 魚 simplified Chinese鱼 pinyin: yú is included, but not eaten completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase "may there be surpluses every year" (traditional Chinese 年年有餘; simplified Chinese 年年有余;pinyin: niánnián yǒu yú) sounds the same as "let there be fish every year."

Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability. Several foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune. Several of the Chinese food names are homophones for words that also mean good things. Like many other New Year dishes, certain ingredients also take special precedence over others as these ingredients also has similar sounding names with prosperity, good luck, or even counting money.

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Expats in the News

Update 22 Aug 2014: Catfight on Orchard Road as large crowd watches on

Two women were seen fighting in public along Orchard Road, with a huge crowd of people gathering to watch the ongoing tussle.

In a video posted by All Singapore Stuff on Facebook, a large number of people were armed with their mobile phones and cameras and were seen snapping away as the fight played out.

It is unclear what sparked the disagreement, but a number of Facebook users had speculated that it could have been a quarrel over a lover.

VIDEO: Two foreign women fighting outside MRT station

Foreign women in catfight at Clarke Quay - right in front of police vehicle

Two women were spotted fighting outside a club in Clarke Quay, with one pinning down the other, despite the presence of a police vehicle nearby.

Pictures of the incident had been uploaded onto a blog online by a netizen, who said the two women seemed like Mongolians.

The photos have also been making the rounds on various social media sites such as Facebook, as well as local forums.

Two men fight outside Subordinate Courts as woman joins in
Shirts were torn, faces scratched and a shopping bag swung when two men and a woman fought outside the Subordinate Courts on Thursday

As the men exchanged blows, the woman also joined in for good measure. Her weapon of choice — a shopping bag that she swung at one of the men who had earlier confronted her.

It took about 10 security personnel and police officers another 10 minutes to calm them down and send them on their way.

A Subordinate Courts spokesman said the parties were in court to attend a hearing for an application for leave to appeal to the High Court in a Small Claims Tribunals case. The application was denied.

VIDEO: Filipino couples openly hold lewd games at East Coast Park in the presence of families and children

Six women charged over K Box brawl

Six women aged between 18 and 30 years old were on Friday (June 27) charged with causing hurt to another person, while five of them were charged with rioting at a karaoke lounge at Orchard Cineleisure.

According to court documents, the five women – Chinese nationals Wu Huamin, 18 and Qiu Zhulin, 28; Singapore permanent residents Liu Jiabao, 30 and Wang Xi, 23; and Singaporean Ding Jiao, 28 – were allegedly part of an unlawful assembly with a common object to cause hurt to 19-year-old Ms Zheng Lu at the K Box karaoke lounge on May 3.

Wang faces a second charge of kicking and punching Ms Zheng with another Chinese national, Wu Huachun,19, on May 2.

Four Indians jailed for fraud in Singapore

Four Indians were today sentenced to jail terms up to 48 months and fined after being convicted of fraudulent Goods and Services Tax refund claims, corruption and money laundering.

The four men - Sundar Panneer Selvam, Baskaran Uthirapathy, Pounraj Natarajan and Gobi Raman - had paid for receipts from bona-fide shoppers who had purchased jewellery and obtained electronic tourist refund scheme (eTRS) tickets from jewellery retailers, according to media report.

The men then presented the eTRS tickets and jewellery not purchased by them to Mohamed Yusof Bin Abdul Rahman, a customs officer on duty at the inspection counter in the airport.

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Are you an offensive expat?
Justin Bieber raised fist police station arrest
Thousands of Americans want Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber - pictured here after getting arrested - deported from their country Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When moving to a new country, it's common sense not to bad-mouth it or behave like a yob. But there are many less obvious ways to get off on the wrong foot ... It seems expats have been causing offence all over the place lately.

More than 100,000 citizens of the United States signed a petition asking President Obama to deport pop star Justin Bieber back to Canadaafter his recent run-ins with the law, including allegations of drag racing, impaired driving and assault.

That came after a similar petition to get British television host Piers Morgan deported for criticising America’s gun laws. Meanwhile, wealthy British businessman in Singapore Anton Casey caused outrage after mocking poor people and calling a taxi driver a retard in posts on his Facebook page. Not only did that result in a petition – he also received death threats and ended up getting fired and leaving the country.

Dismembered body found in suitcase, two Pakistani men charged

Two Pakistani nationals were charged in a Singapore court over a murder case in connection to the discovery of a legless body found in a suitcase in Syed Alwi Road, here, reported The Straits Times.

The two men, Rizwan Ramzan, 25, and Rasheed Muhammad, 43 were accused of murdering their compatriot, Mohammed Noor, 59, between 12:01am, June 10 and 6:04 pm on June 11.

The incident was alleged to have taken place in a room in Rowell Road, believed to have been rented by the three men.

The accused men were arrested last Thursday not far from where the bag containing the dismembered body was found barely 24 hours earlier. Police later found the victim’s leg in Jalan Kubor.



My name is Mark and I am the person involved above, First and foremost, I want to apologise to the anonymous driver with whom I had the disagreement shown in the video, and to all who felt offended after watching the silent clip.

I humbly admit that I reacted in an inappropriate manner and I deeply regret my response. I lost my patience and for that I am truly sorry. I would like to stress that in the years that I lived in Singapore, I have built close friendships with many Singaporeans and have greatly enjoyed living and working here. I have absolutely no prejudices against the people of Singapore, or of any other population.

Precisely because of the affection and friendships that link me to Singapore, once again I hope that my apology will be accepted by the anonymous driver and by all.

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Road Rage Exposed: Suntec City Red Vespa Ang Moh Mark Franklin

Yet another road rage incident involving an Ang Moh motorist happened on the roads of Singapore! According to the Singaporean victim Tay, the arrogant motorist flashed his middle finger and hit his car just because Tay tapped his horn (once) when the motorcyclist did an illegal U-turn.

Is this the sort of thuggish behaviour we expect from our foreign talents? Regardless of one's wealth and standing, one is expected to abide by the laws of the land you are in. The motorist's total disregard for fellow motorists and his arrogance pissed off many Singaporeans. Many have since called for the authorities to take swift action against him.

Alas, no action was taken against this brazen motorist for his bad behaviour till today.
Because of the authorities's reticence in doing justice, The Unseen Singapore felt compelled to stand up for our fellow Singaporeans. Without further ado, we present to you, Mark Franklin, the Suntec City road rage motorist.

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Post-Casey, what expats must do

The Anton Casey saga spurred a public uproar with netizens responding angrily, displaying their unhappiness. A Singapore-based British wealth manager published a series of messages mocking ‘poor’ Singaporeans on his Facebook. The wealth manager eventually apologised through a PR company but his move was deemed insincere. He even received death threats made against his family, prompting him to flee to Australia after his firm fired him.

Not too long ago, Oliver Desbarres, a senior employee from Barclays berated, threatened and threw a metal sheet at a group of construction workers building a house next to his. He was immediately fired from his bank after a video of him went viral on cyberspace. Then there is the Australian expat cyclist who ran into a heated argument on two unrelated incidents. In one he was caught acting aggressively and spewing bile from his mouth at a female driver. He was captured on a camera footage shouting and banging on the lady’s car.

I have personally witnessed expatriates misbehaving in public spaces. I signed up for a charitable run recently where I witnessed cyclists reprimanding the runners to ‘f*** off’ on two separate occasions. In both incidents, the aggressors were middle-aged Caucasian men on the cycling track. During my undergraduate days, I worked in social networking events and encountered snobbish expats behaving distastefully. Many have questioned if this is the kind of talent we want in Singapore where some foreigners exhibit unruly behaviour that irks locals.

Does Singapore deserve its 'miserable' tag?
Singapore's reputation as a wealthy, aspirational and hi-tech country ensures it attracts a great deal of foreign talent - so why is it labelled the world's least positive country?

One morning the nausea finally got the better of me just as I had stepped on to a packed train. Worried I was going to faint, I crouched to the floor, holding my head in my hands.

And so I remained, completely ignored, for the full 15 minutes it took to reach my station. Nobody offered me seat or asked me if I was OK.

For the first time Singapore had made me feel unhappy. I had been vulnerable - completely reliant on the kindness of strangers. Singaporeans, I felt, had let me down.

My traumatic encounter with a foreign barbarian!

When I turned into Wallich Street, the front seated Caucasian then instructed me to stop and asked how much was the fare. It was $9 plus including the $3 city surcharge. He gave me $10 and walked away leaving me in a daze state. It was a traumatic experience.

It happened so fast within few mins but it seemed an eternity. Time stood still. Many thoughts came running to my mind and I went over my options in rapid speed. Should I just drive the taxi to Police CID at Cantonment Street which is just a short distance away or should I confront them when they were about to leave the scene as the police were on the way?

I’ve read much about the many cases of taxi drivers assaulted by huge burly drunk Caucasians and I was afraid that I might be one of them. I did not want to be another statistic of such increasing number of cases. Should I snap a picture of him for the police to apprehend him? Fearing for my own safety, I just decided to let them go away. They simply walked away without saying another word!

61 foreign nationals arrested for illicit activities in Punggol forest

"The police arrested 61 foreign nationals in the forested areas along Punggol on Friday night for being allegedly involved in illicit activities.

Police said in a statement on Saturday that the suspects, comprising men and women, are "believed to have used the cover of the forest for various illicit activities such as vice and gambling".

In the raid, which involved officers from the Ang Mo Kio Police Division, Criminal Investigation Department and Gurkha Contingent, the foreign nationals were arrested for wilful trespass on state land or offences under the Women's Charter. If found guilty, they can be fined up to $1,000. Full story

61 foreigners arrested in Punggol for illegal gambling & vice activities


An Indian National construction worker working in Singapore has been sentenced to jail for 2 years and 8 months after he was found guilty of blackmailing women to have sex with him using their nude photos that he had obtained by chatting with them using a fake photo of a sexy Caucasian man.

28 year old Mani Velmurugan had criminally intimidated 17 women between May and August 2013.

He had met the women through chatting website Badoo and used a sexy Caucasian man’s photo as his profile picture.

Man jailed for threatening to upload women’s nude photos
Pose & prey

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These two bangla workers were spotted sleeping in an amusing manner on the MRT at about 11pm on Sat (Mar 1).

The picture shows one man sprawled out across a priority seat, while another had his legs on top of the first man.

One of the bangla workers even had his hands in his pants and keeps rubbing his private part while chanting something in the train while there are other girls around in the train. I suspect he is masturbating.

Two Indians arrested in Singapore for moonlighting as barbers

Two Indian nationals and a Bangladeshi have been arrested here for moonlighting as barbers while on permit to work in the construction sector, according to a media report today.

The three accused had set up make-shift stalls on a pavement in the industrial estate of Tuas, earning four Singaporean dollars per haircut compared to the average hair cut cost of 10 Singaporean dollars in a local barber shop.

Officers from both the Manpower Ministry and the National Environment Agency raided the area and arrested the three yesterday, while others at the scene fled

11 foreign workers charged with rioting at Choa Chu Kang construction site

In the second case to occur here in two weeks, 11 workers were charged on Tuesday with rioting, this time at a construction site in Choa Chu Kang.

According to local media, the workers – four Chinese and seven Bangladeshi nationals – are alleged to have been involved in a fight on Sunday afternoon at the construction site for Rainforest Condominium off Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3.

The Chinese men are between 25 and 46 years of age, while the Bangladeshis are aged between 20 and 28. Each of them were charged with being in an unlawful group in which one or more used violence by punching and kicking members of the other nationality. 


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Police arrest 13 foreign workers in Kaki Bukit dormitory brawl

Thirteen foreign workers were arrested after a brawl broke out late Tuesday night at a dormitory in Kaki Bukit.

Police said they received a call at 11.22pm requesting for assistance.

The men are believed to be from India and Bangladesh, and the fight was apparently sparked by a cricket match.

related: Police arrest 13 foreign workers in Kaki Bukit dormitory brawl

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14 workers from India plead guilty to unlawful assembly leading to fight with poles and rods

Fourteen foreign workers, aged between 21 to 39, pleaded guilty on Thursday to being part of an unlawful assembly in relation to a fight last March in Little India.

Eleven of them were each sentenced to seven months in jail, and the remaining three were dealt an additional week for stealing food and beer from supermarkets.

Mostly construction workers hailing from India, the 14 got into a fight with another group on Mar 31 2013 near the Farrer Park MRT station in an incident the prosecution called "a large scale public order offence".

related: Riot Erupts in Singapore's Little India

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Four arrested after brawl in Paya Lebar

Four male foreigners suspected of being involved in a 10-man brawl along Paya Lebar Road have been arrested.

The fight took place on Sunday at 8.44pm, the police said, following a dispute between two groups of people.

The police said that they found a broken wooden plank and fragments of a broken beer bottle at the scene.

25 foreigners jailed in Singapore for submitting forged documents

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is clamping down on foreign employees who submit forged academic certificates. Some 25 foreign workers were charged on Thursday for submitting forged academic certificates to obtain work passes to work in Singapore, under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), the ministry announced in a press statement.

All 25 pleaded guilty to the charges. Twenty-two of them were sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail, two sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail and one to four weeks’ jail. These were the most severe penalties meted out by the court for such offences.

The Ministry said that this was the largest number of foreign employees prosecuted for such an offence this year. Last year, 78 foreign employees were charged for similar offences, nearly double the number of workers charged in 2012. Most of them were jailed for up to four weeks and were also barred from working in Singapore.

Seven Indians jailed for forgery in Singapore

Seven Indians are among 25 foreign employees jailed between four and 12 weeks for submitting forged academic certificates to obtain work passes in this city-state.

Among the foreign 25 employees, 16 are from Myanmar, and two from the Philippines, the Today Online reported Saturday. Twenty-one of them are men and four are women.

The defendants had obtained the forged certificates in their home countries and used them to apply for work passes between Nov 2, 2012, and June 7, 2013

Punched, in pain, still on song
STOIC: Local jazz singer Ho being attended to by paramedics after the assault in Sentosa on Sunday. She took a punch to the nose from a man twice her size, but got out of the car she was in and told her assailant not to leave as she called police. PHOTO: DAWN HO

SHE took a punch to the nose from a man twice her size, but instead of shrinking into the back of the car she was in, local jazz singer Dawn Ho got out.

The 34-year-old walked towards the Caucasian man and told him not to leave as she called police.

The alleged incident in Sentosa has been making its rounds on Facebook since the popular singer shared it on her page.

Angry Ang Moh On The Loose
ST has a nicer picture

Hopefully, Dawn Ho misheard when she was told by the police that they could not arrest expatriate Aaron Jeremiejczyk. Latter had reached into her friend's car where she was seated in the back, and punched her in the nose. Then the director of marketing for Tadcaster Hospitality - owner of Australian themed bar and eatery in Asia Square - put a marketing spin on the assault, "Why did you punch yourself?"

Ms Ho made the mistake of coming to the defence of a poor cabby, suffering a torrent of abusive insults because the Ang Moh was not happy with the $43 per trip fee for the limousine service. Hey, Singapore has not been named the world’s most expensive city by the Economist Intelligence Unit (E.I.U.) for nothing.
"So as I was leaving to jump into friend’s car, I told him what he’s doing is not cool and he didn’t have the right to talk to people like that. Angry guy started verbally abusing me with vulgarities and chasing after me as I made my way to the car."

FT accused of punching SG singer resigns from company

Singer Dawn Ho posted a Facebook message yesterday (10 Mar) recounting her ordeal on Sunday night.

Apparently, after her performance in Sentosa on Sunday night, she witnessed an expatriate allegedly abusing a cab driver and limo service personnel verbally. Seeing the injustice, she intervened and told the expatriate he didn’t have the right to talk to people that way.

The expatriate then became more angry and allegedly started to also verbally abusing Ms Ho with vulgarities. She was allegedly chased and hit in the nose by the expatriate later. This was what she posted [Link]

From Sin City to City of Ruffians

Anton Casey was an angel. He only made some funny remarks and faces, did not hurt anyone physically. In today’s report in MyPaper, a petite Singapore young lady, Dawn Ho, was punched in the nose by a Caucasian man twice her size for trying to stop him from bullying a taxi driver.

This Caucasian ruffian is called Aaron Jeremiejczyk. His female companion, not sure a SPG or a foreigner, hit Dawn’s friend, a Munir Alsagoff with a beer bottle.

The police were called and it was reported that they were investigating. Not sure if the Caucasian ruffian and his woman ruffian were arrested. Very likely not. And very likely the two Singaporean victims would now have to get their own lawyer to sue them. Otherwise they would just be a punching bag and nothing could be done about it. And if the ruffians’ passports are not withheld, they could be on the next flight out of Ruffian City and laughing their guts out for having a good time punching daft Sinkies.

So last night after my gig in Sentosa while waiting for my band mates to pick me up at the taxi stand, I witnessed an very obnoxious guy and friends (one girl, one guy) hijack a limo cab and shout in the most demeaning way to the cab driver and limo service personnel. Complaining about the $43 per trip fee of the limo. And telling the limo service staff, " you are MY bitch!" repeatedly.

So as I was leaving to jump into friend's car, I told him what he's doing is not cool and he didn't have the right to talk to people like that. Angry guy started verbally abusing me with vulgarities and chasing after me as I made my way to the car. His female friend soon got out of the limo they were holding hostage and tried to get violent with me using a beer bottle she had in her hand. My band mates jumped out to stop her. While my friends were trying to restrain her, angry guy came up to the car (which I was already in) and punched me in my face and gave me a bloody nose. Which his response to was, " why did you punch yourself?"

After an entire episode of verbally abusing me with names like bitch, cunt, mother fucker, chink, slut, when he saw that he had made me bleed he showed no remorse. Even as I announced I was gonna call 999 right away. I gave my details to the police and went to hospital for x ray etc in an ambulance. The massive bleeding from my nose only stopped late this morning. And half my face is tender and swollen.

Three foreigners fight outside Surbordinate Court, police fails to make any arrest

Is this why Singapore crime rate had fallen to 30-year low as reported by the police?

Two men fight outside Subordinate Courts as woman joins in Shirts were torn, faces scratched and a shopping bag swung when two men and a woman fought outside the Subordinate Courts on Thursday.

As the men exchanged blows, the woman also joined in for good measure. Her weapon of choice — a shopping bag that she swung at one of the men who had earlier confronted her.

It took about 10 security personnel and police officers another 10 minutes to calm them down and send them on their way. Full story

Related: Singapore’s crime rate falls to 30-year low - Yahoo!

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Man arrested for flinging chairs onto Changi Road
A man in his forties was arrested on Tuesday morning after he held up traffic along Changi Road by throwing chairs from a restaurant

Eyewitness Lee Tong Chsia, 40, was on his way to work when he saw the Caucasian man flinging chairs and potted plants outside the New Hawa coffee shop along Changi Road into the path of motor traffic. He said that there were about 40 chairs on the road at one point, obstructing traffic. He took a video of the incident and posted it on citizen journalism website Stomp.

Police were alerted at about 5.20am, and the man was subsequently arrested for allegedly committing a rash act. The Straits Times understands that he is a Singaporean permanent resident.

Mr Lee, a doctor, added that the man's behaviour was belligerent and aggressive. "He was shouting across the road at onlookers. One of the chairs he threw even hit a bus." He also said that after he had called the police, they arrived within five minutes and the troublemaker was arrested "without much resistance". The onlookers then helped to clear the road of debris so that motorists could resume their commute.

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Enraged man throws restaurant chairs onto Bedok Road and blocks traffic
A man was seen throwing chairs and other large objects onto a road, stopping traffic. The incident happened at about 5.25am today

Stomper Lee, who was at the scene of the incident, says the Caucasian man took numerous chairs, flower pots and other objects from New Hawa Restaurant located along Bedok Road and threw them onto the road, right into the path of traffic waiting at the road junction.

Lee wrote: "A man was throwing chairs to block the road. This happened at about 5.25am."
According to Lee, the man was also behaving aggressively towards the crowd of onlookers who had appeared to observe the scene.

"He was very defiant towards the crowd of onlookers and showed aggressive behaviour", explained Lee.

British Expat Banker Apologises For Poor Judgment

Miss Singapore Bernice Wong (left), the wife of Mr Casey, alongside Miss Slovac Republic Petra Mokrosova, Miss Slovenia Polona Bas and Miss South Africa Cindy Nell at the 2003 Miss Universe beauty contest in Panama City

Mr Casey, a former London stockbroker, previously worked for HSBC and is married to Bernice Wong, 35, who won the Miss Singapore Universe contest in 2003. The couple married in 2008.

Details of his online gaffes were featured in the local media and on websites and internet forums.

Mr Casey was said to have gone into hiding and spoken to police because of the abuse he was receiving.

Irresponsible FT cyclists – shows finger some more!

Wondering if this is proper behaviour to have as a responsible road user,even for those who use “natural energy”

My friend was driving in the city area this evening when a group of western cyclist cycled out into his lane (from the video, you can see it is not the left-most lane, which in Singapore, is where MOST of the cyclist will cycle as a responsible cyclist and a member of road user.)

They were getting very close to him,so as a gentle warning for everyone’s safety, my friend give them a single horn (which is those gently tap-and-release type). Video

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Traffic Police looking for cyclist who blocked road and taunted driver along Thomson Rd

The Traffic Police are currently looking for the male cyclist who blocked a car along Thomson Road and taunted the driver.

In a recent article on Stomp, a video shows the man cycling across the road into the path of a car. He then stops midway to gesture rudely at the driver.

The Singapore Police Force posted a picture of the cyclist, together with the following message on their Facebook page:

Motorist's friends raise $5,000 for information on rude cyclist

She had just made a left turn to Whitley Road from Thomson Road when a cyclist dashed across her car.

The 50-year-old manager, who wanted to be known only as Madam Tan, braked to avoid hitting the cyclist (above), who stopped and gestured at her. He said something that could not be heard before cycling away.

The incident, which happened two weeks ago, was captured on Madam Tan’s in-car camera. Upset with the cyclist’s behaviour, she shared the video with her friends.


Another cyclist has been caught on camera blocking a car's path and taunting the driver.

The video, uploaded on facebook by SG Share, shows the man first cycling across the road and stopping midway to gesture rudely at the driver.

A time stamp on the video revealed that the incident took place on February 10, 2014.


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VIDEO: Another road rage involving caucasian FT
Hardwarezone Forum, 30 Oct 2013

Related: PAP MP: Singaporeans must learn to be respectful and gracious to FTs on the roads

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Cyclist breaks all traffic rules, stops traffic near Vivocity

Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Health Dr Faishal's Facebook post about a road bully of Australian origin rings a bell: "Instead of assigning blame, it is important for us to remember that we must be gracious and respect one another on the roads."

It has to be a paraphrase of Member of Parliament (Tampines GRC) Baey Yam Keng's ringing endorsement of PRC scholar Sun Xu's diatribe (“There are more dogs than people in Singapore”) directed at our senior citizens: "We need to reflect upon ourselves, are we the way they described?"

It all looks so familiar: Foreigner Talents 1, Singaporeans 0

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Police investigates FT road rage cyclist

Australian cyclist Kenneth

The police have confirmed that they are investigating a case of road rage involving an expat cyclist along Keppel Bay Drive last month, as well as a case of the same cyclist stopping in the middle of the road to challenge a driver this month. In the latter case, the driver’s in-car video captured the whole incident along Keppel Road (video: FT cyclist breaks traffic rules, challenges driver)

The police’s confirmation came after Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Health, Dr Faishal, posted a comment about the 2 incidents on his Facebook page yesterday (25 Oct):

“Many have asked for my opinion on the recent incidents involving a cyclist and other motorists. I understand that the Police are already investigating both incidents. Instead of assigning blame, it is important for us to remember that we must be gracious and respect one another on the roads. Cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike must abide by traffic rules and play their part in looking out for one another. When we demonstrate courtesy and empathy, our roads will be safer for everyone. I believe that we can all contribute to making everyone’s journeys safer and more pleasant.”
With regard to the first incident, the police said that they received a call at about 7.44am on 16 September 2013 for assistance along Keppel Bay Drive. When they arrived, it was established that an alleged case of road rage had occurred.

Monster on two wheels

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American "FT" breaks the law and scolded commuter

I spotted this commuter who had her legs propped up on the Reserved Seat next to her on the train. She also had an opened canned drink in her hands.

I feel that more should be done about commuters who behave badly on board trains, since they seem not to take notice of the signboards around them. After I approach her telling her nicely that this seat is reserved for people with special needs and that she can't drink in the train she scolded me asking me to mind my own business with an American accent.

She also said she can have her drink where ever she wants and she does not want anyone to seat with her. She then put on her headphones and ignored everyone around her

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Foul-mouth foreigner threatens workers and warns he will hunt down their families
"This Caucasian trespassed into the construction site and shouted vulgarities non-stop. His dangerous behavior of throwing construction materials into the pit nearly endangered the lives of two workers!

"The video was taken by my staff at the site. We are constructing a house for a client and the Caucasian stays nearby. We comply with the government's regulations on construction, after about six months of construction, we have a year to go before the house is ready. "The neighbour is not happy with the noise generated for the construction. I also understand from the surrounding neighbours that this guy has a lot of problem with noise. If a dog barks, he will throw a shoe at it, and he has also thrown things at neighbours and picked fights with them.

"From day one my staff have encountered a lot of problems with this guy. He threw things at them, scolded them, imposed his rules and regulations on what time they can start work. He told them to start at 9am, so we try to, but on this particular day we started at 8.45am. The government allows work to start at 8am. "On Saturday, it was the last straw as he barged into the site, and it is very dangerous for both my workers and himself. He started an aggressive tirade at the workers, and didn't even look into the pit to see if there were workers inside before throwing the zinc sheet down. It almost hit them.

"You can also see he is not wearing any safety gear and I am worried he can slip and fall on the site, not only endangering himself but also becoming our liability. "We have made a police report and consulted our lawyers on this case."

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Have you read this article by Charlotte Ashton on BBC? Would you agree?

I am sorry the writer feels the way she did but I think many of us would be able to relate to some of her experiences. I remember my wife facing the same situation. When she was expecting, there was a period when she injured her arm and it was in a sling and yet, no one offered her a seat on the MRT. People pretended to sleep or not to notice.

We do hear of stories of people being callous, indifferent, unfeeling. And I guess we need to look at ourselves and ask if we too sometimes reflect these ugly traits in the little things that we do or say, or don't do and don't say when we really should do the right thing.

Truth is, we often do know what is the right thing to do. And we can, if we choose to

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Singapore fines UK editor for spitting at policeman
AFP News/Roslan Rahman - Armed policemen stand guard in Singapore, on July 18, 2012. A British magazine editor has been fined $8,000 for spitting at a Singapore police officer after an alcohol-fuelled Christmas party last year, his lawyer told AFP

A British magazine editor has been fined $8,000 for spitting at a Singapore police officer after an alcohol-fuelled Christmas party last year, his lawyer said Friday.

Forgan Duncan, the editor of Tiger Airways' inflight magazine, was fined by a district judge on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to the offence, said lawyer Terence Tan.

"He has paid the (S$10,000) fine. There will be no follow-up unless the prosecution decides to appeal the decision," Tan told AFP.


A British banking director, Mason Robert Alford, was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay $1,000 compensation by the court today (8 Nov) for assaulting a taxi driver two years ago.

The foreign expatriate, who is the the regional head of Asia-Pacific for credit analysis, admitted to punching Mr Tan Chin Huat, 58, in the face along the ECP expressway on 14 Dec, 2011.

Mr Tan picked up the Briton near Lau Pa Sat hawker centre at about 1am in that early morning. Reeking of alcohol, he told the cabby to go to Eastwood condominium in Bedok.

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Swiss train vandal to be caned, jailed in Singapore

A Singaporean court sentenced a Swiss man to five months' jail and three strokes of a cane Friday for breaking into a metro depot and spray-painting a train, a punishment that could scar him for life.

Oliver Fricker, a 32-year-old expatriate winding up a posting in Singapore as a software consultant, had pleaded guilty to trespass and vandalism, which are considered serious offences in the city-state.

Fricker was sent immediately to jail but his lawyer Derek Kang said he intended to appeal the sentence, which comprises consecutive terms of three months for vandalism and two months for trespass.

Swiss man to be caned and jailed for Singapore graffiti - Reuters
Swiss man to be caned for vandalizing Spore metro train - Earth Times
Swiss graffiti man faces Singapore caning - BBC News
Singapore sentences Swiss to caning for graffiti - Associated Press
Oliver Fricker: Graffiti Case - Puggal.com
Swiss man faces cane for vandalism in Singapore - Perth Now
Swiss Man Gets 3 Cane Strokes, Jail in Spore Graffiti Case - BizWeek
Swiss vandal faces jail and caning in Singapore - Swissinfo
Spore sentences Swiss man to caning for spraying graffiti - Metronews.ca
Spore sentences Swiss man to caning for graffiti offence - Malaysia Star
Singapore sentences Swiss to caning for graffiti - Yahoo! Canada News
Singapore to cane Swiss graffiti vandal - Brisbane Times
Spore to cane Swiss man after train graffiti incident - Asian Correspondent
Swiss Man Receives Prison Sentence, Canning In Graffiti Case - RTTNews
Swiss man to be caned in Singapore - The Boston Globe
Caning for graffiti artist - Eastday
Singapore to cane Swiss man for spray-painting train - Ottawa Citizen
Swiss man to be caned, jailed for Spore graffiti - Edmonton Journal
Swiss vandal faces caning, jail - Montreal Gazette
Singapore Sentences Swiss To Caning For Graffiti - Corpus Christi
Caning sentence for Swiss man in Singapore - UPI.com
Will Amnesty International Stop the Caning of Swiss Man? - Allvoices

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Ex-UBS Executive Director Buergin Gets Jail for Underage Sex

Juerg Buergin, a former executive director of operations of UBS AG, arrives at the subordinate courts in Singapore on April 30, 2013

Juerg Buergin, a former UBS AG (UBSN) executive director of operations, was sentenced to four months and three weeks in prison for having sex with an underage prostitute in Singapore.

Buergin showed no sign of remorse by standing trial and claiming he was a victim of deception by the girl and her pimp, Singapore Subordinate Courts Judge Eddy Tham said today after convicting the 41-year-old Swiss national on April 30 of two counts of having sex with a minor.

Prosecutors, who have charged 51 men for sex with the prostitute, had sought a sentence of at least six months for each count. Buergin could have been jailed as long as 7 years and fined for each charge. His lawyer had asked for a sentence in line with the other 18 men who have been jailed for as long as 16 weeks for sex with the same girl after pleading guilty.

Ex-UBS Executive Convicted of Paid Sex With Underage Girl
Singapore Caps Year of Lust With Lawmaker Affair
Singapore Charges 48 in Prostitution Scandal With Underage Girl

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The Ministries of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said foreigners who break the law in Singapore should be prepared to face the consequences, including having their visas or work passes revoked.

The ministries issued a joint statement in response to media queries about appeals for leniency for the Malaysians arrested for participating in illegal protests in Singapore on 8 and 11 May 2013.

The statement said that it is clear that some of the Malaysians who participated in the two illegal gatherings at Merlion Park deliberately ignored repeated warnings that the protests were illegal.

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Expats who jump bail: We will bring them to justice

The police will spare no effort in tracking down the two fugitives in the Suntec City brawl case.

They are looking at legal options to bring the two options brokers who absconded - Robert James Springall, 25, and Robert Stephen Dahlberg, 34 - back here to face the court.

Responding to queries from The New Paper, a police spokesman said: "Police would like to assure the public that the investigation into the Suntec City brawl case was thorough and complete.

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3 foreigners charged for beating 4 S'poreans

THREE Caucasians who were allegedly involved in hurting four people at Suntec City more than a year ago were charged in court on Thursday.

The trio were said to be drunk when they abused two taxi drivers, two taxi passengers and also hijacked and then crashed a taxi in the early hours on April 11, reported The Straits Times.

New Zealander Robert Stephen Dahlberg, 34, and Australian Nathan Robert Miller, 35, face two charges each, and Briton Robert James Springall, 24, faces three charges.

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Court doubles ex-Romanian diplomat’s sentence over Singapore hit-and-run

The former Romanian diplomat convicted for a deadly hit-and-run accident in Singapore has had his sentence doubled to six years by an appeals court in Bucharest yesterday.

Silviu Ionescu was originally sentenced to three years in prison in March last year, more than three years after the incidents on December 15, 2009 where he allegedly drove a black Audi from his embassy and ran over and killed one man, and then knocked into two others while fleeing.

Ionescu was Romania’s charge d’affaires in Singapore at the time, and he fled Singapore soon after the accident.

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Ex-Romanian diplomat gets six-year sentence in Singapore car crash

A former Romanian diplomat, involved in a car crash in Singapore in which one person died, received a six-year sentence by the Bucharest Appeals Court.

Silviu Ionescu, Romania's former charge d'affaires in Singapore, was charged with manslaughter and leaving an accident scene in 2009. He was indicted in 2010, the Romanian news website HotNews.ro said Friday.

The indictment said Ionescu was driving a Romanian Embassy-owned car when he struck two people in a crosswalk, one of whom later died of his injuries. Ionescu then drove away from the crash site and struck a pedestrian at another crosswalk before driving away and later abandoning the car.

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Jail term for Romania ex-diplomat in Singapore crash
A Bucharest court sentenced a former Romanian diplomat to three years in prison on Wednesday for a 2009 deadly hit-and-run accident in Singapore (AFP photo)
A Bucharest court sentenced a former Romanian diplomat to three years in prison on Wednesday for a 2009 deadly hit-and-run accident in Singapore (AFP photo)

Silviu Ionescu, who was Romania's charge d'affaires in Singapore, was found guilty of hitting three pedestrians in December 2009 while driving a car belonging to the Romanian mission.

One of the pedestrians, a 30-year-old Malaysian, died.

"The court condemns Ionescu Silviu for manslaughter... inflicting injuries and fleeing from the location where the crash took place," the judgement said.

related: Foreigners Behaving Badly

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"The tourist from hell"

In mid-March 1995, Singaporeans were gripped by the news that dismembered parts of a human torso and lower limbs were found floating in black garbage bags in the waters off Clifford Pier. Fears that this was the work of a killer at large proved true. The body parts were identified as belonging to a South African tourist, Gerard George Lowe, 32, who went missing. His head and arms were never found.

Following police investigations, John Martin Scripps, was caught and charged in court to stand trial for the murder of Lowe. Martin was accused of killing Lowe, in Room 1511 which they shared in River View Hotel between noon on 8 March and 8:00 am on 9 March. Acting for the prosecution were Jennifer Marie, Noral Huda and Toh Han Li. They highlighted that Martin had a reputation of befriending tourists, killing them and then dismembers their corpses. He robs them of their wallets, credit cards, cash and passports. Martin had considerable skill as a prison butcher and Lowe's body showed signs of being dismembered professionally.

In Lowe's case, the defence mooted that Martin killed Lowe unintentionally when he rebuffed the latter's unwanted homosexual advances in their River View Hotel room. In the ensuing fight, he hit Lowe with a camping hammer. He panicked and fled when Lowe was dead. An anonymous British friend disposed of the body. Acting for the defence were Edmond Pereira and Joseph Theseira. Justice T.S. Sinnathuray found Martin was found to be a calculative killer who set out to murder and rob the unsuspecting Lowe. He was sentenced to death, by hanging

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Singapore executes Briton for murder

John Martin Scripps, 35, today became the first Westerner to hang for murder in Singapore. Scripps, from Letchworth, Hertfordshire, was found guilty last November of killing Gerard Lowe, a South African who he befriended on arrival at the island state's airport.

Mr Lowe's body was surgically dissected, using butchery skills Scripps acquired in the Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight. Although not on trial for any other murders, the Singapore court heard that the shy-looking Scripps had also murdered and chopped up the bodies of a mother and son on the Thai resort island of Phuket.

Scripps pleaded innocent to murder and spent days in the witness box giving an unconvincing account of his innocence. However, contrary to expectation, he made no appeal against his sentence nor sought clemency from the president of Singapore. His family also had the option to appeal on his behalf but did not do so.

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Man spared the gallows despite killing cabbie

A foreign worker escaped the hangman’s noose yesterday, becoming the fifth convicted murderer on death row to be given a life sentence instead of the death penalty.

Chinese national Wang Wenfeng, 33, was also given the maximum 24 strokes of the cane for the murder of cabbie Yuen Swee Hong, 58, in April 2009.

While Wang had failed in his appeal to the Court of Appeal in July last year, changes to the law, which took effect this year, gave judges the discretion to impose either the death penalty or life imprisonment for certain categories of murder. The case was then sent back to High Court Judge Lee Seiu Kin to determine if Wang should be jailed for life or hanged.

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Johannes Van Damme – The first westerner hanged in Singapore

Two Dutch business people arrested in Singapore in 1991 for drug offences suffered remarkably different fates. First, Maria Krol-Hmelak was arrested in her hotel room after the police found 4 lb of heroin hidden inside machinery components. Five months later Johannes van Damme was arrested at Singapore airport. Police found three times that amount of heroin in the false bottom of his suitcase.

Neither of them knew the other, but before their arrest they had both lived in Nigeria. At Maria Krol-Hmelak’s trial the prosecution demanded the death penalty – drug offences of that magnitude are a capital offence in Singapore – but very unexpectedly the judge decided to acquit her on the grounds that she had no idea what she was carrying. She left Singapore a free woman.

Van Damme wasn’t so lucky. He was found guilty and moved to Death Row. Appeals, petitions and legal arguments all having been exhausted, he was hanged on Friday, September 23rd, 1994, at Changi Prison.

related: Singapore Executes a Dutch Engineer Arrested on Drug Charges

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1994: Johannes van Damme, heroin smuggler

At dawn this date in 1994, Dutch citizen Johannes van Damme was hanged at Singapore’s Changi Prison for drug trafficking

The first westerner hanged under Singapore’s draconian anti-drug law, the engineer had been nabbed at the airport with 4.32 kilos of heroin. Van Damme, 59 at his death, claimed ignorance of the illicit contents and his case drew appeals from the Dutch government — to no avail.

The city-state’s severe criminal code and comprehensively ordered society —“Disneyland with the Death Penalty” in cyberpunk author William Gibson’s formulation — is somewhat notorious at this point.

But while foreign migrants and guest workers had regularly faced the gallows for similar offences, van Damme’s hanging marked a significant ramping-up of enforcement. According to Amnesty International, Singapore carried out 54 drug-related hangings in 1994 and another 52 in 1995, after an early-90′s pace of under ten per year. It’s maintained rates in the dozens of executions per annum since then, making it the heaviest per-capita user of the death penalty in the world.