Execution in Singapore

Campfire's picture

I recently read about Aussie Nguyen Tuong Van, who is due to be hanged on Friday, December 2nd for drug trafficking. Despite persistent official pleas from Australia, the Singaporian government insists that he be hanged and it all looks very bleak for him.

I just can't decide whether I agree with this ruling or not. He says he did it to pay off his brother's debts. As noble as this cause might be, the heroin he would have been supplying would quite probably have destroyed many families in Singapore (or whatever country they were due to be sent to). It's a seriously bad drug. Furthermore, lots of people in this world are in debt (like half the population of the UK) but they don't all resort to transporting class A drugs.

But still, given he has no previous convictions (which make his brother-in-debt story more plausible), is this crime really worth the gallows? Personally I'm in support of capital punishment, but only for murder. And even then, only murder of the most evil/heinous variety. But then I think, well, he shouldn't have done it, and everyone knows how strict Singapore is with drugs, and if they are seen to relax their rules then it could make drug trafficking worse.

I think overall I disagree with his execution. Had he had previous convictions, or evidence suggested he had done this on more than one occasion, then I wouldn't feel much for the man. His poor family though...

There, I reached a verdict!

Edit: If you want to contribute to the messages of appeal to the Singaporian government, check out this page on Amnesty International. I felt that I should do it, even though it won't make a blind bit of difference.


raining men's picture


Why do you support capital punishment? Does it ever achieve anything but revenge? Britain last executioner, who killed more than 400 people, has campaigned to stop it. He is an expert in the death penalty but he now hates it. Capital punishment does not really help the case, it just kills people. And if its as bad as the U.S one then its going to have to rely on college students to free this man

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"

Campfire's picture

Yes, really

I guess I also believe revenge is sweet then?

As I said, I support capital punishment for murder in certain circumstances. I do not think that people who take the lives of innocent people deserve to live. I'd probably be happy with life imprisonment if life actually meant life, but almost invariably it doesn't (obviously I can only speak from the perspective of a UK citizen). I don't want people like Ian Huntly gracing this planet, in prison or not. Simple as that. I would revel in seeing their existence snubbed out.

I don't argue that executing people does not make their crime right, it doesn't bring the person they killed back to life - but it sure as hell makes me feel a lot better.

raining men's picture

Feel better

It makes you feel better? Murders often kill people because, due to their deluded fantasies, it makes them feel better. It just sounds a little creepy.
Althouhg I agree about the life sentence. One here in the U.K almost nver actually means for life. But surel though it would be just as easy to introduce a real life sentence as it would be to introduce the death penalty?

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"

Campfire's picture

Umm, what?

"But surel though it would be just as easy to introduce a real life sentence as it would be to introduce the death penalty?"

I don't know what you base that on. Life sentences already exist, as do full life sentences. Introducing the death penalty in the UK would be impossible. The two are incomparable.

I stand by my original post.

raining men's picture

You say

You say "life imprisonment if life actually meant life, but almost invariably it doesn't"
I agree life sentences aren't real life sentences at the moment - most prisoners do not serve out their full term. But to make sure that life sentences really are for life would be as easier a reform to do as to introduce the death penalty

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"

Campfire's picture

No it wouldn't. Introducin

No it wouldn't.

Introducing "life means life" would be a lot of easier than introducing capital punishment. In fact, life already exists, you don't even need to introduce it. Judges just don't use it very often except in exceptional cases, usually dubbed 'exceptional' due to media hype and public outrage at the crime.

Personally, I'd rather not be paying for the upkeep of scum for the rest of their lives, I'd rather they just be executed.

raining men's picture

Trouble is

The trouble is it often costs more to kill someone than it does to lock them up. It costs $2 million more in the U.S, surely the country we would copy if we had the death penalty, to put someone on the death row than life imprisonemnt. California has spent a billion dollars on capital punishment cases in the past 40 years. Think of benefits that could come from spending that on say, education, or health, or hell anything really

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"

Campfire's picture


The USA has a population of nearly 300 million, the UK has a population of around 60 million. The UK has about 850 murders per year (and we don't adopt the degree system remember), the USA has about 12,000. Of course they are going to spend more, there are more murderers. The USA spending a billion dollars does not mean the UK will spend a billion pounds. It takes around £468,000 per year for each prisoner to be kept in prison (£600 a week), which is £397 million for all those murderers. Spend that much over 40 years, and what do you get? £15 billion, which is about $25 billion. 25 times the amount California has spent on the death penalty.

Let's not also forget that most of the costs incurred by the US are due to their legal system allowing endless appeals/delays (which accounts for the lengthy periods people remain on death row in the US). When capital punishment existed in the UK, prisoners were on death row for an average of 8 weeks and allowed one appeal.

Anyway, I would happily pay taxes if the end result was the execution of a truly evil murderer, I object however to paying for their survival. Besides, the British government are not exactly known to limit or halt spending on useless pursuits for the sake of health or education.

Despite all this, it's not going to happen and I accept that. Even if we weren't a member of the EU, I find it highly unlikely it would be reintroduced. Labour are strongly against it, as are Lib Dems, and the official view of the Conservatives is that it's a bad thing.

The relevant point is, Nguyen is pacing up and down his cell right now, watching the sun rise and set as Friday approaches, for something which is usually considered in Western society as a very serious crime, but not one which deserves repentence through death, especially not for a first offence.

Dim's picture


Life is priceless.


Campfire's picture


I wish.

raining men's picture


Yes there is no guarantee that we will be having the same system as the U.S, but it is pretty likely. Does the risk of executing innocent people scare you? Any justice system can get stretched and cases get rushed through - I repeat college students found 11 innocent people - entirely innocent - ready to be fried on the Illinios death row.

True, Britain's old death system was quite quick without appeals to bog it down, but that's because we executed nine year old children for stealing letters - we killed anyone.
Most people who are true experts on the death sentence are against it. Remember that documentary on it a few years ago? The one which followed a man on death row through the last month of his life. The filming crew, previously neutral on the issue, broke dowen in the end scene as they were forced to say goodbye to a friend who was often thought of as innocent by the prison guards and was about to be strapped down to a chair and and have the life fried out of him. Britain's last executioner, Henry Pierrrepoint, killed 400 people in his life and is now a great campaigner against capital punishment, saying that he beleives those 400 people he has killed "achieved nothing but revenge".

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"

Kang Lin's picture

And when you're wrongly convi

And when you're wrongly convincted of a crime punishable by death, then what? Every point that you've made here is dependent on the assumption that the defendant is guilty. The number of posthumously overturned sentences and less than certain verdicts show this to be false. One innocent life lost causes pain immeasurably greater than the percentage of your taxes that will ever go towards housing convicts.