Singapore to cane and jail two Germans for vandalism

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A policewoman sits next to Elton Hinz, one of the two German nationals arrested in Singapore for vandalism, as they arrive in a police car to the state court on 22 November 2014Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Hinz (R) had entered the depot together with Von Knorre in November

Two German men have been sentenced to three strokes of a cane and nine months in jail in Singapore for vandalism and trespassing.

Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz pleaded guilty to entering a train depot and spraying graffiti on a train.

Singapore has strict laws on vandalism, and has caned and jailed foreigners in the past for the offence.

These include a Swiss national in 2010 and US teenager Michael Fay whose 1994 caning sparked global controversy.

Von Knorre, 22, and Hinz, 21, had flown into Singapore from Australia in November last year and vandalised a train during their stay.

They left the country afterwards and were eventually arrested in Kuala Lumpur in neighbouring Malaysia.

Both men expressed remorse in court, and called their acts "a stupid mistake".

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Von Knorre (R) and Hinz were caught in Kuala Lumpur and extradited to Singapore last year

Caning in Singapore involves being struck with a wooden stick on the back of the thigh, which can leave permanent scars.

The maximum penalty for vandalism is a fine of S$2,000 (£958: $1,461) or up to three years in jail, in addition to three to eight strokes of the cane.

In 2010, Swiss software consultant Oliver Fricker was jailed and caned for spray-painting graffiti on a train in Singapore.

American Michael Fay made international headlines when he was sentenced in 1994 for damaging cars and public property. Despite an appeal from US President Bill Clinton, Singapore authorities went ahead with the caning but gave Fay a reduced number of strokes.