Saturday 26th June 2010

A Swiss expatriate, who has pleaded guilty to the crime of vandalism, has been sentenced to three strokes of the cane and five months in Jail.

Oliver Fricker, 32, was awarded three months in prison and three strokes of the cane for vandalizing a commuter train in May this year. The train, which was housed in SMRT Corp’s depot, was spray painted with the words "McKoy" and "Banos" a signature that has featured in graffiti works in other countries.

Singapore police have also placed a global alert for a further expat, British citizen Lloyd Dane Alexander, 29, who was an accomplice to Fricker’s activities but fled Singapore before being arrested by the authorities. Global law enforcement group Interpol is now attempting to locate him.

When passing the sentence, Judge See Kee Oon asserted that be believed the act constituted “calculated criminal conduct” and rejected defense claims that the act had been committed for “noble” purpose of highlighting security lapses at SMRT.

"The total sentence is five months' imprisonment, three strokes of the cane," Judge See Kee Oon said. The punishment, which dates back to colonial British rule, will involve the defendant being struck five times with a wooden stick on the back of the thigh. It can leave permanent scars.

Fricker showed no emotion as policemen led him away from the courtroom.

The latest case involving the serious impact of committing illegal acts abroad once again highlights the need for expatriates to fully understand and adhere to the laws of the countries within which they live. What probably started as a drunken joke has had serious impacts for the Swiss expat, who now faces losing his job. When living overseas it is crucial that you fully research the local laws and customs. See our expatriate city guides for full information.

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