‘Polite’ bank robbery suspect extradited to S’pore, charged today

Canadian David James Roach (centre) arrives in Singapore to face charges of robbery and money laundering. (AFP pic)

SINGAPORE: A suspect in a rare Singapore bank robbery is set to face charges in the Asian city-state after four years avoiding extradition to the country as he attempted to reach his native Canada, authorities said Tuesday.

Singapore police and the country’s public prosecutor said in a joint statement that David James Roach had been sent back by Britain after being detained there in 2018 en route to Canada.

His arrest followed an earlier spell in a Thai jail on charges related to carrying stolen cash after Roach initially fled Singapore for Bangkok in 2016, the statement said.

Thai authorities refused to send him to Singapore as the countries do not have an extradition treaty.

He is scheduled to be charged in court later Tuesday with robbery and money laundering related to allegations that he stole S$30,000 from a Standard Chartered bank branch after strolling in and presenting a threatening note.

In a bid to get its extradition request approved, Singapore agreed to a demand from London that Roach not face corporal punishment if convicted.

Floggings with a heavy rattan cane, a legacy of British colonial rule, are a common punishment in Singapore, and convicted bank robbers face a minimum penalty of six strokes as well as at least two years in jail.

But Britain abolished caning for criminals decades ago and refuses to extradite anyone to a country where it exists.

Bank robberies are extremely rare in Singapore, where a zero-tolerance approach to crime has made the country one of Asia’s safest cities.