No Deals For German Vandals To Have Charges Reduced

Two young German men facing flogging in Singapore for vandalising a train were unable to reach a deal Wednesday to reduce their charges, their lawyer said.

Christopher Bridges said a district court has yet to reply to his request to have the number of charges against Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz, both 21, reduced.

Each of them faces three counts of trespassing and one of vandalism allegedly committed in November last year, but the lawyer wants state prosecutors to proceed on just one charge each of trespassing and vandalism.

Bridges, who attended a closed-door pre-trial conference with the prosecutors and the judge, said another meeting will take place on February 4.

“There has been no reply yet from the court. We might know more at the next pre-trial conference,” Bridges told reporters after the session.

The two Germans were accused of breaking into a suburban depot and spray-painting graffiti on the exterior of a metro train cabin last November. The depot is a restricted zone surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire.

The defence lawyer declined to disclose his instructions from his clients but Singapore media reports said both could plead guilty after a plea bargain.

The two men were extradited to Singapore by neighbouring Malaysia after they were arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as they were leaving for Australia.

For trespassing they face up to two years in jail, a fine of up to Sg$1,000 ($800), or both for each count.

For vandalism, they face up to three years in jail or a fine of up to Sg$2,000, and between three and eight strokes of a rattan cane — a punishment dating back to British colonial rule.

Both remain in remand at Changi Prison.

An older sister of Von Knorre’s who attended the hearing told AFP that she visited her brother twice in prison and he seemed to be in good condition.

“On behalf of my family, I would like to apologise to this country for what my brother did,” she said, requesting anonymity.

Singapore, a leading Asian financial hub, is well-known for its tough stance on crime.

The city-state’s vandalism laws became global news in 1994 when an American teenager, Michael Fay, was caned for damaging cars and public property despite appeals for clemency from the US government.

In 2010, Swiss expatriate Oliver Fricker was sentenced to seven months in jail and three strokes of the cane for vandalising a train at a depot in the city-state.

Caning entails being whipped with a rattan stick on the back of the thigh below the buttocks, which can split the skin and leave lasting scars.



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