Posted by YU on May 21, 2016

The Singapore legal system used caning as a punishment which also applies for foreigners. And it came up with worldwide discussions among Singapore‘s caning and its legal system. Some appreciated it and some were opposed to it.

Royes(1994) reported the debate about crime and punishment about Singapore’s caning law. A caning for an American boy was carried out in Singapore because the boy named Michael was against the law for his behaviors of painting on several cars in Singapore in 1993. Later the American community criticized such a severe punishment for a teenager and even the American president Clinton suggested the Singapore government pardon the boy’s caning. But the Singapore government insisted on their cane sentence and only reduced two strokes from six to four as a respect for President Clinton, believing that caning can lower the rate of crimes effectively and keep the society peaceful. Most Singaporeans agree with their motherland’s rough laws, however, there have been a rise in delinquency, drug abuse and white-collar crime in Singapore.

​ Shen (2015) said the zero tolerance law of Singapore drew world’s attention again in 2015. Two German young men were caught and had to receive three strokes of cane as a punishment in Singapore because of their behaviors of vandalism in train. Though the two young men Andreas and Elton admitted their mistakes and showed their apologies to the public, the Singapore government persisted on its zero tolerance principle so the penalty would not change. It still draw attention to the media and governments in the world. The official of Berlin foreign ministry official said the German government disagreed with the corporal punishment like the caning in Singapore and called it a form of torture.

​ Heng (2015) talked about same standards for everyone. The International organization Human Right Watch (HRW) thought the cane for the two German young men was against the human right and the caning may stand for the disregard of international human rights standards. But the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) of Singapore responded that the graffiti of two men in train caused large losses in finance for the train company and brought inconvenience to the travellers , and the laws of Singapore would applies for foreigners and monitored clearly under the same strict standards, stressing that the offender perpetrators have to pay for their behaviors that disobey the rules of the whole society and the losses of the issues. On news sites, there exists on supporters from English and Australia asking their country to follow the strict laws of Singapore.

​ In conclusion, the argument about Singapore’s rough caning is complex. The Singapore government sticks to its position. The arguments among the supporters and the opponents will last.


Reyes, A. 1994 May 25. A caning in Singapore stirs up a fierce debate about crime and punishment. Asiaweek. Shen, R.2015 March 5. Two Germans to be caned, jailed for Singapore train graffiti. Reuters. Heng, J. 2015 March 8, Same standards for everyone, says AGC of caning. The Strait Times.

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