Senior Minister of State for Law, Indranee Rajah shared in Parliament that there must be a common desire from both countries to have an arrangement for the reciprocal handing over of fugitives in the interest of law and order to enter into an extradition treaty with another country.
“Both countries must find it mutually beneficial to enter into such an arrangement”, said Ms Rajah.
This was in response to the questions filed by Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, who had asked the Minister for Law about how many countries have signed bilateral extradition treaties with Singapore.
Er Dr Lee also asked why there is no extradition treaty with Thailand and what are the considerations before Singapore seeks an extradition treaty with another country.
Ms Rajah states that Singapore has bilateral extradition treaties with the United States, Hong Kong and Germany, and extradition arrangements with 40 declared Commonwealth countries, including Canada, under the London Scheme for extradition within the Commonwealth.
“We also have special extradition arrangements with Malaysia and Brunei based on the endorsement of arrest warrants. We have signed an Extradition Treaty and a Defence Cooperation Agreement as a package with Indonesia, which is pending ratification by Indonesia,” Mr Rajah said.
Singapore is also a party to a number of multilateral instruments which provide for extradition. These include the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, she added.
The Senior Minister of State stated, “As a responsible and effective member of the international community, we are committed to facilitating greater international cooperation to combat transnational crime, in accordance with our domestic laws and international obligations.”
On Dr Lee’s second and third questions, Ms Rajah explained that for Singapore to have an extradition treaty with another country, for example, Thailand, first there must be a common desire from both countries to have an arrangement for the reciprocal handing over of fugitives in the interest of law and order.
“Sometimes these arrangements are easier to conclude when countries come from the same legal traditions and have very similar legal systems and procedures. Where there is greater divergence in the respective legal systems and procedures, the differences will need to be rationalized or a consensus be reached as to the legal procedures to be applied before an arrangement can be concluded.” said Ms Rajah.
Earlier this year on 7 July, a robbery took place at a branch of Standard Charted Bank in Holland Village. The suspect walked towards the teller unarmed then handed her a note, asking for money to be handed over. The teller handed him $30,000 in total.
The suspect, who was identified as David Hames Roach, a Canadian, had subsequently entered Thailand via Suvarnabhumi Airport on the same day. The Thailand Police managed to track him down in Bangkok and held him in custody.
However, as Singapore and Thailand do not have an extradition agreement in place, the Singapore Police was unsuccessful in seeking the extradition of the suspect despite continued requests to the Thai authorities. On the other hand, Thailand has an extradition treaty with Canada.