18 August 2007

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A couple was caught for absent-mindedly bringing in pornographic VCDs through the Tuas checkpoint. The VCDs weren't just seized. They had to spend a night in a police lock-up. Guest essay by Mitch Oldman.

9 comments:

Ned Stark said...

Well i normally try not to be mean or anything but this story coupled with the recent shadowing of the run at Singapore River have compelled me to say this:

IT appears that the force is more concerned about such stuff. While it can be said that it is not my place to question to professionalism of the security forces, I am rather intrigued by the current situation.

Here we are, going after people who mistakenly bring in vcds and going after a group of runners just because they are gay; while on the other hand we have instances where people who assault others are not arrested because the harm is deemed not grievous enough. And then of course you have the instances where people have somehow managed to sneak pass immigration (Took Leng How). That brings us to this question are we missing the forest for the trees?

Sillyporean said...

"How can you prosecute someone for something they did not know was wrong in the first place?"

Ignorance of the law is not an excuse! They can only blame themselves for this.

Anonymous said...

I am cynical. I can understand the hassle the couple received, re: the porno VCRs. The upside is that 'no illegal drugs' were found on them, n i don't mean them having brought any in...if u get the drift?
but what is really stupid is the harrassment of the runners who are gay?
the police and their bosses have too much on their time. don't they have a domestice violence case to arrest or a python to catch?

Wolfgang said...

sorry to be devil's advocate but i don't think it is anything to do with being gay. it is the possession of porn.

i agree it takes too long but then again red tape involved is ridiculous. but then again you don't really want to streamline it. i'll explain, police hate to bring people in to charge them because of the red tape, the long drawn and numerous procedures they have to go though to just charge a person.

most police would prefer to let you off with a warning, then to bring charges against you.

Anonymous said...

This "couple" should be thankful that they were only let off with a warning .In fact, I am pissed off that they weren't charged if it were indeed proven that they had brought in pornographic cds. In some third world banana republics, and there are quite a handful around this region, Singapore's holding cells would seem like a three star hotel. And it's interrogation methods(always done according to the book as pointed out by the writer) would be a walk in the park. So what are they complaining about? Every country has rules and if you break them, the easiest excuse is to plead ignorance which as everyone knows(and no one who reads newspapers will dispute this)is no excuse. And he even had the temerity to say(thought?) the police had no case! Don't they even read travel guides before sneaking in with a pouch of illicit material?

Anonymous said...

It seems like most of the other commenters here seem to think what happened was ok because they did seem to break the law and "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Don't you people ever stop and question the law itself?

It is not fair that Singaporeans at home get to surf porn on their computers but tourists crossing the borders with it get stopped and detained. It is not fair that the law is enforced only at border crossings. It is not fair that they only stop people with porn but do not stop the thousands of Singaporeans everyday crossing from JB with one or two PIRATED videos and then just let them passed, since that is also a SERIOUS OFFENSE. And to top it all off, foreigners get the impression that some of our laws are on the books and not enforced (like Section 377A, for example, where authorities have said they won't enforce it). We're living in a country where some laws are enforced, and some aren't, where authorities say sometimes laws aren't enforced. So how should foreigners be expected to know what's REALLY against the law and what's just written but not enforced? Why, then, is ignorance not an excuse? I disagree that Singapore is a country governed by rule of law. It's just whatever some officer feels like, it seems. So can't you give the foreigners a break? Or maybe if they are ang moh it's better if we catch a few to make ourselves feel better? And our jail cells are better than Malaysia's, so those people are just big whiners. They should stop whining and in fact, should go back home and write about how clean and nice our jail cells are.

Anonymous said...

"So can't you give the foreigners a break?"

Why should we? These two jokers even complained about the food served! What do they think a holding cell is? A suite in the Ritz Carlton?

Evidence is needed to prosecute. Surely it is unreasonable to search and inspect everyone who crosses into Singapore with some "pirated videos".

These two were obviously back packers and well travelled. They knew very well Singapore's harsh laws on drugs and pornography. They took a chance and lost. Simple as that. It was by the grace of their guardian angels that they were let off with a warning. Perhaps it may even be that the authorities are giving them a break! As with all the ang mohs who transgressed against our local laws and were given a break, they go home and write hogwash about how tyrannical we are. Well, I've learned one thing in life. If you see a snake, spare it and it will kill you one day.

Singaporeans are known for being whiners. Obviously from this sorry episode, we are not the only one guilty of this foible.

Anonymous said...

It is deviant and evil and wrong to like to look at naked bodies. This is so un-Singaporean. You should learn from our PAP lawmakers -- they are fully clothed even during sexual intercourse.

Anonymous said...

almost the exact same thing happened to a couple, friends of mine. she, a canadian girl and her bf, a sarawakian chinese cycled back to singapore from johor. the immigration discovered some small fireworks in her bf's bag. and they threw him into jail! the poor girl had to drag her singaporean ex-bf in the middle of the night to the police station and bail him out. needless to say, everyone was well traumatised.