August 6, 2002
7:30 PM   Subscribe

Right. Let me get this straight. A security guard found a handbag unattended in a night club. He then searched the bag, supposedly looking for ID, and found a small packet containing a white powdery substance, which he handed over to the Central Narcotics Bureau. A woman, Ms. Low, later says the handbag belongs to her. The Judge notes that "There was no denial that this was her handbag. She claimed it was hers." Ms. Low's friend, after being offered immunity from prosecution, then says they both snorted cocaine earlier on in the evening. On the basis of the evidence presented, Ms. Low is sentenced to 18 months in prison.
posted by netsirk (46 comments total)
 
in singapore? and your point is?
posted by quonsar at 7:34 PM on August 6, 2002


don't have cocaine in your purse in Singapore. And if you lose your purse DON'T CLAIM IT.
posted by ColdChef at 7:38 PM on August 6, 2002


heh. quonsar, you're right. i suppose i shouldn't be surprised.

if there was ever an argument for "reasonable doubt", though, then surely this is it.
posted by netsirk at 7:39 PM on August 6, 2002


She's lucky that's all she got. At least they didn't cane her.
posted by hama7 at 7:40 PM on August 6, 2002


did she get her coke back?
posted by ColdChef at 7:42 PM on August 6, 2002


I don't think it's worth opening a MetaTalk thread over, but I think this post might have been either shorter or composed of fewer paragraphs. It takes up more than the whole screen on my browser. I understand spacing for dramatic effect, but I'd rather not see quite so much dramatic effect on the front page. YMMV.
posted by anapestic at 7:44 PM on August 6, 2002


She should have gotten the death penalty.

Nothing about the stupidity of Singaporeans surprises me after they banned the sale of chewing gum.

Nuff said.
posted by timyang at 7:45 PM on August 6, 2002


So all they're basing the conviction on really, is a security guard's word that he found coke in her handbag. Given that it wasn't in her possession at any point in time, it's a flimsy argument at best. Drug testing would have worked better. Welcome to Singapore. There's no better way of enforcing their drug laws than to use someone high profile to do it.

Just an aside, I had a friend tell me that as part of his National Service (every young man must join the army for 2 years) he was part of the undercover narcotics squad. Apparently on occassion they would enter a popular nightclub, close all the exits and shut it down and proceed to take hair/dna samples and test all occupants for drug use. Regardless of what they'd like you to think, there is a definite drug scene in Singapore so I'd imagine they got lucky quite often. However these people go into it knowing full well the ramifications of drug use there so you really can't make too many excuses.
posted by Jubey at 7:50 PM on August 6, 2002


Let me get this straight. Someone in Singapore gets a light sentance for cocaine possesion, and we're suppose to...... What? Maybe there are some cultural aspects that aren't translating well here. Please help us out here. You needed to take up half the homepage, at least give us something to disguss.

The article mentions that the court took reasonable doubt into concideration and found it lacking.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:59 PM on August 6, 2002


anapestic - point taken. next time i will comply. apologies

hama7 - by the way, they only cane men, not women. but yes, she probably is comparatively lucky.
posted by netsirk at 8:00 PM on August 6, 2002


I don't think it's worth opening a MetaTalk thread over, but I think this post might have been either shorter or composed of fewer paragraphs. It takes up more than the whole screen on my browser. I understand spacing for dramatic effect, but I'd rather not see quite so much dramatic effect on the front page. YMMV.
posted by anapestic at 7:44 PM PST on August 6


I'd rather not see so much schoolmarmery regarding a post's frickin' formatting. If the eight bits of bandwidth those linebreaks took up are so evil, aren't you like a bandwidth Pol Pot by posting three lines about it? YMMV, of course.
posted by GriffX at 8:03 PM on August 6, 2002


Don't even have chewing gum there. In fact, don't even have Razzles, because first it's a candy, then it's a jail sentence.

And here on Mefi, don't have such long FPPs.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:07 PM on August 6, 2002


case closed.
posted by manero at 8:08 PM on August 6, 2002


Let me get this straight. Someone in Singapore gets a light sentance for cocaine possesion,

I wouldn't call spending a year and a half of your life in a prison full of criminals a 'light sentence.' That may be light in Singapore but its still insane to any rational person. The war on drugs is a worldwide problem and the more attention brought to it the better.
posted by skallas at 8:09 PM on August 6, 2002


I'm sure one can come up with numerous cases in America of people getting longer sentences for doing a lot less, Tyrene Manson comes to mind, who got 4-1/2 to 9 years because she just happened to live in the same place as an uncle who sold drugs to undercover cops.
posted by bobo123 at 8:10 PM on August 6, 2002


As William Gibson said, Disneyland with the Death Penalty.
posted by Utilitaritron at 8:22 PM on August 6, 2002


"I wouldn't call spending a year and a half of your life in a prison full of criminals a 'light sentence.'"

From the article: "She could have been fined up to $20,000 and jailed up to 10 years for having drugs."

Seems like she got off light to me. And having seen a few lives ruined by cocaine, I don't mind it being made illegal. You don't agree? Cocaine should be legal? Yes, the war on drugs *does* suck ass in the US. However, since the article states this is the first person in Singapore arrested for the crime, I'm having a hard time including this under "The War On Drugs" silliness.

One person in Singapore gets busted for cocaine. We shine a spotlight on this why? skallas - What are you implying this should tell us about the war on drugs?

Signed,
Just Not Getting It In San Diego.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:26 PM on August 6, 2002


(that did NOT come out right........)
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:28 PM on August 6, 2002


Lucky for her she didn't land in Maylasia like this poor dufus now facing the Death Penalty.
posted by Mack Twain at 8:29 PM on August 6, 2002


can't do the time...
posted by jcterminal at 8:40 PM on August 6, 2002


One person in Singapore gets busted for cocaine. We shine a spotlight on this why? skallas - What are you implying this should tell us about the war on drugs?

First off, there is a spotlight on this because she's a high profile individual. I doubt its a coincidence that the first person tried under cocaine possession law is famous. Governments often make examples to show everyone else what could happen.

Secondly, the fact that someone is spending 18 months in jail with the previous possibility of spending TEN YEARS in jail tells me that the sentencing is way too harsh for this kind of crime. Yes, I do believe the world would be better off with decriminalizing cocaine in small personal amounts for at least your first conviction with inquiries into possible addiction. No need to make it legal like sugar, but if you can't see the ridiculousness of this kind of sentence I don't know what to tell you. Too much stick and not enough carrot has always been the drug wars main problem.
posted by skallas at 8:43 PM on August 6, 2002


Nothing about the stupidity of Singaporeans surprises me after they banned the sale of chewing gum.

Damn. Been in SG for a month now and i constantly have chicken leftovers between my teeth. It's really annoying!
posted by popkick at 8:51 PM on August 6, 2002


by the way, they only cane men, not women

Thanks, I didn't know that. Remind me not to bring any cocaine to Singapore. Ouch.

One more comment: How did she get it through customs?? I mean you can't even bring chewing gum up in that piece.

You don't think she.... naw she couldn't have.
posted by hama7 at 8:56 PM on August 6, 2002


And tonight I see a woman who embezeled $65,000 from the County Tax Office really got bitchslapped with a huge FIVE MONTH SENTENCE! Someones got some splaining to do.
posted by Mack Twain at 9:23 PM on August 6, 2002


Bad news. It could as easily have happened in the good old US of A.
4th amendment rights protect you from unlawful search by governmental "actors" but they have no bearing on private individuals.
For example, a long line of cases tested and upheld in the Sup Court back in the 1980s stated that drugs found at security checkpoints in airports were searches conducted by private individuals. As a result, if they find drugs, and they elect to, they can detain you, call the police, hand over the evidence to the authorities, and you guessed it. The evidence is fully admissable while if a cop had done the same it would get thrown out, absent probable cause.
So, if you're in a bar, and your holding, and a bouncer finds your stash for whatever reason and decides to call in the donut squad, (much as it transpired in Singapore), your fuckin' screwed and the Supremes are totally down with that.
Have a nice day!
posted by BentPenguin at 9:50 PM on August 6, 2002


She snorted coke off a public toilet seat? Yecccch. Even in Singapore.
posted by dhartung at 10:18 PM on August 6, 2002


She snorted coke off a public toilet seat? Yecccch. Even in Singapore.

At least she wouldn't have to worry about chewing gum on the seat ;-)
posted by dg at 10:35 PM on August 6, 2002


timyang: Nothing about the stupidity of Singaporeans surprises me

Is this some kind of local rivalry thing? I see you're in Malaysia and netsirk is in Singapore.

Netsirk, I'd love to hear more about your experiences with the legal system. Do folks really get fined $1000 for their first chewing gum offense? Or is enforcement on the ground more lax than that? Any interesting (non-incriminating :) anecdotes you want to share would be great.
posted by mediareport at 10:49 PM on August 6, 2002


The plot thickens (linked on netsirk's site):

In a bid to resolve the problem of Singapore's long-standing dependence on Malaysia's water, both governments have attempted to negotiate a new pricing package. Singapore has rejected proposals to increase the price of Malaysia's water, and Malaysia refuses to build upon the initial water pacts from the 1960s. In the meantime, Singapore's government is examining ways to conserve water, and reduce dependence on Malaysia.

It *is* some kind of local rivalry thing, isn't it? It's ok, us North Carolinians do it to South Carolinians all the time. But yours seems more interesting. :)
posted by mediareport at 10:59 PM on August 6, 2002


Precious sight: One member of our group on the Malaysian side offering gum to those of us on the Singaporean side.
posted by apostasy at 11:11 PM on August 6, 2002


mediareport - the chewing gum thing isn't that bad. Or maybe I'm just used to it!

I don't personally know of anyone being fined for possession of chewing gum. Gum isn't sold anywhere in Singapore, but it's easy enough to bring in small quantities of gum, and the service stations just the other side of the causeway in Malaysia all sell big packets of gum, as do the little duty free kiosks in Bintan and Batam (two Indonesian islands very close to Singapore by ferry).

You are correct, there is quite a bit of rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia. Both governments/local press seem to enjoy trying to make the other country look bad. Such is life!
posted by netsirk at 11:16 PM on August 6, 2002


popkick: In sg forigners can bring their own gum to chew if they want to.

Anyway, moral of the story: don't live in singapore.
posted by delmoi at 12:54 AM on August 7, 2002


... there is quite a bit of rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia ....

Which seems to be because Singapore is screwing Malaysia with their water deal from 1961. At least some of it...
posted by popkick at 12:57 AM on August 7, 2002


In sg forigners can bring their own gum to chew if they want to

I know. It's not like im suffering, and i'm only here for two months...

Anyway, moral of the story: don't live in singapore.

I wouldn't want to live here but i can see why the european/australian/american residents here like it.
posted by popkick at 1:00 AM on August 7, 2002


Popkirk, show me five Americans (or for that matter any nationality) who doesn't want to get the hell out of Singapore within four months of getting there and I'll show you a lump of pink barnyard animal with feathers.
posted by timyang at 5:40 AM on August 7, 2002


Singapore sounds like heaven compared to Tulia Mississippi, where ten percent of the black population were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms based on the word of one patently unreliable cop.
posted by alms at 6:20 AM on August 7, 2002


There's actually a legal precedence on discovery after identifying search. I should know I experienced it first hand.

Back in high school, went camping one weekend. Monday comes around and I forgot the locker combination to my locker. I put my school bag in an unoccupied unlocked locker across from my classroom. A security guard randomly checking unlocked lockers sees my bag, opens it looking for my name or identification. Finds a 3" pocket knife that I took camping with me. Lawyers and everything, I get 5 days suspension from school for the incident. endofstory.
posted by omidius at 8:07 AM on August 7, 2002


I don't think it's worth opening a MetaTalk thread over, but I think this post might have been either shorter or composed of fewer paragraphs. It takes up more than the whole screen on my browser.

A whole screen? What're you running over there? An original Mac with 9" screen?
posted by Fofer at 8:36 AM on August 7, 2002


alms:

For the record I was born in Mississippi, and can say for a fact that Tulia is in Texas.

Tupelo is in Mississippi but that's another story...
posted by whatever at 8:36 AM on August 7, 2002


Whoops. I guess recent events have me trying to block all thought of Texas out of my mind.
posted by alms at 8:58 AM on August 7, 2002


My understanding, having lived there, is that possession of chewing gum is not illegal in Singapore, but the selling of it is. It's much easier to cut off the supply than to go around busting little kids or detaining gum-chewers at the airport.

And it's not such a bad place to live, as long as you're not a rebel.
posted by davidfg at 10:21 AM on August 7, 2002


A whole screen? What're you running over there? An original Mac with 9" screen?

Matt must have reformatted it since it was posted. When posted originally, there were double spaces between almost every sentence. It did take up most of the space above the fold on my screen. (standard 19" monitor at 1280.)
posted by dejah420 at 12:24 PM on August 7, 2002


timyang: show me five Americans (or for that matter any nationality) who doesn't want to get the hell out of Singapore within four months of getting there and I'll show you a lump of pink barnyard animal with feathers.

My boss and his gf, our purchasing agent (germans) have been here for 2 years now, i don't see them leaving anytime soon, our mech. engineer (swiss) - still here, as are the parents of two students i met (britain), the list goes on.

Now, where's those animals, foo'?


davidfg: And it's not such a bad place to live, as long as you're not a rebel.

exactly. i guess i'm sorta one. a small one...
posted by popkick at 6:16 PM on August 7, 2002


I really like Singapore - hot, clean, friendly. So they arrested and convicted someone who a witness claimed was snorting drugs. BFD.

As for the Malaysia/Singapore water thing - Malaysia want to jack up the price of water from 3c/ltr to 60c/ltr. Of course Singapore needs to find its own water source (disclosure: I work for a company that is helping the singpore govt do just that)
posted by Neale at 7:14 PM on August 7, 2002


Neale, what do you think about this, from popkick's link?:

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad described the current price as "ridiculous," pointing that Hong Kong pays mainland China $2.10 per 1,000 gallons.
posted by mediareport at 10:27 PM on August 7, 2002


Singapore government's argument on comparison with Hong Kong / China is that "China bears the infrastructural and operational costs of supplying raw water to Hong Kong. Hong Kong does not bear any of these costs... In our case, over the years, it is Singapore which has borne the infrastructure, operational and maintenance cost, such as pipelines, building of dams, and so on." Also, under the agreement, "Singapore sells the treated water to Johor at only 50 sens per thousand gallons. Singapore is therefore absorbing the cost of treated water sold to Johor to the amount of RM1.90 per thousand gallons. Johor [the neighboring Malaysian state] in turn sells the treated water it has purchased from Singapore to its consumers at RM3.95 per thousand gallons." For more information on Singapore government's stand, do a search for "water agreement" at Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
posted by applesurf at 3:10 AM on August 8, 2002


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