Despite both being ASEAN countries, Singapore’s request to extradite bank robber suspect, David James Roach, was rejected by the Thai authorities following a court ruling yesterday (Aug 20). David Roach will be extradited to Canada instead, following diplomatic exchanges with the Canadian police.
27-year-old Canadian David Roach robbed the Holland Village branch of Standard Chartered bank of S$30,000 cash with only a piece of paper written – “This is a robbery, I have a weapon, give me money, don’t call police” – on July 7. David Roach managed to escaped to Thailand on the same day. He was however arrested three days later (July 10) by the Thai authorities and has since remained in Thai custody. Both Singapore and Canada then pressured Thailand to extradite the robber to each of their country.
The refusal to cooperate is no surprise as Thailand-Singapore relationship is still on the rocks especially after the high profile purchase of the Thai’s national telecom carrier, Shin Corporation (now renamed as InTouch Holdings) by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings in Jan 2006. The former owner of Shin corp, is now in-exile former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was perceived as selling a national asset to a foreign country and he was later overthrown in a coup in the same year. As a result, the Singapore government has always been in the bad books of the current Thailand military administration.
This is also the second time in a week that Singapore’s judiciary have been held in contempt by foreign authorities. The United Nations openly infringed the new Contempt Law of Singapore by criticising the Singapore judiciary as unfair. There is no comment from Law Minister K Shanmugam.