When questioned by Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim why Singapore is not able to extradite Stanchart robber David Roach from Thailand, Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah evaded the question saying that the Singapore government is “working on it”:
“At present, Singapore is actively engaged in negotiations. Like many other ASEAN partners, we are hopeful that work on this instrument will be concluded as soon as possible.”
Minister Indranee Rajah unwittingly revealed the poor diplomatic relationship of Singapore with ASEAN countries, saying that Singapore has only extradition treaties with Malaysia and Brunei. The PAP Minister also blamed Indonesia for not signing the extradition treaty with Singapore:
“While there remains no ASEAN-wide initiative for the mutual recognition of arrest warrants, Singapore has special extradition arrangements with Malaysia and Brunei. This is down to the countries’ common law tradition and close relationship, and allows for the swift surrender of fugitives based on the recognition of arrest warrants. In addition, Singapore has signed an extradition treaty with Indonesia, which has yet to ratify the agreement.”
In the Stanchart robbery case, Thailand captured the Singapore robber who fled the country and refused to extradite him to Singapore, choosing to send him back to Canada.
The PAP Minister then defended Singapore’s poor diplomatic relations with ASEAN countries:
“But when it comes to expanding its extradition network, it is not a matter of numbers alone. Considerations include whether such an arrangement would be mutually beneficial for Singapore and the other country, and whether divergence in legal systems and procedures can be rationalised. Furthermore, extradition is a resource intensive process that can place a significant burden on our government agencies and judicial system. More importantly, an extradition arrangement, without adequate protections, carries risks to people in Singapore, including our citizens.”