life on the thin line

in the spate of events of the recent arrest of a guy who lead double lives… in a narcotics drug crime… i feel… well.. it’s really annoying the way the media has played the story big… making everything and anything related to gays very BIG news… WHat’s exactly wrong with them i wonder… as if there is nothing “Hot Topic” to ramble about. It just creates another layer of euphoria over the gay issues… well… regardless of my sexuality… i’m just against the way things are being posted with refernece to the way they blow up inproportioned news… just to create a mass of phobias… Anyways, you can read about the entire article here ->

June 9, 2006
Lawyers say narcotics officers crossed the line in quest to nab offender, but any method of entrapment is legal here
By Stephanie Yap


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PASSING time in an Internet chatroom one night, Adrian Yeo met a man called Joe. Over the following few days, Joe was quite persistent, sending him SMS messages asking if he had drugs, and if he wanted to meet up ‘to have fun’.
According to Yeo’s mitigation plea submitted in court, he refused the first few times. Eventually, the 26-year-old trainee doctor gave in and met Joe, and another man, Jacob, at a Hotel 81, on April Fools Day this year.

When he arrived at the hotel, he got a nasty surprise. Both men turned out to be undercover Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers, who found 0.16g of methamphetamine on him.

Arrested for drug possession, Yeo was sentenced to eight months in jail on Wednesday. The time in prison requires him to break a $400,000 five-year bond with the Government, and casts a shadow on his medical career.

CNB has often been known to employ the same methods it used to catch Yeo.

Said CNB spokesman Amelia Oh: ‘CNB is aware that drug offenders use various means to conduct their illegal activities and have come across instances of some of them using the Internet to do so.

‘Based on intelligence gathered and feedback received, CNB will monitor channels of information, including chatrooms, to detect and apprehend drug offenders.’

Unlike countries such as the United States and Canada, where evidence gathered through ‘excessive’ entrapment can be thrown out of court, evidence obtained through any method of entrapment is lawful in Singapore.

Entrapment is often used when the authorities know an individual is committing an offence, but cannot catch him in the act, said retired police detective Lionel de Souza.

‘It can be difficult to catch a person red-handed even if you already have information that he is breaking the law.

‘In the case of drug possession, you can invite him to meet you and hope he arrives with drugs,’ he said.

However, Yeo’s lawyer, Mr Kertar Singh, argued that CNB officers overstepped a boundary.

‘Yes, the whole exercise is not illegal, but in all fairness what was done by CNB was not appropriate.

‘They went into the chatline and lured people in by saying certain things. An innocent, naive person might find himself in this kind of situation, then get caught,’ he said.

According to Yeo’s mitigation presented in court, he initially refused the undercover officer’s requests to meet him. While he admitted to the officer he had drugs, he said they were for his own consumption only.

Yeo finally accepted an invitation to meet Joe and Joe’s boyfriend for sex at the Bencoolen Street Hotel 81 on April 1. Joe told Yeo he had some Ecstasy, and asked if Yeo had drugs. Yeo said he would bring some.

While lawyers agree some entrapment is necessary for law enforcement, they say officers should not tempt an otherwise unwilling person to commit a crime.

‘I don’t think officers should be encouraging people to commit offences. I’m very uncomfortable with that,’ said Mr Peter Low, chairman of the Law Society’s criminal practice committee.

Mr Subhas Anandan, president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore, agreed.

‘Of course, a certain degree of entrapment should be allowed, otherwise you can’t catch crooks. But they mustn’t cross the line.’

CNB did cross the line, in Mr Anandan’s opinion, in a 2003 case in which insurance agent Teo Ya Lin was pressed by an undercover CNB officer to obtain an Ecstasy pill for him, promising to buy a big policy from her in return. Teo got him a pill, for which she was sentenced to six years and three months in jail.

‘This girl had no intention of selling drugs until she was repeatedly persuaded by the officer. She would not under normal circumstances be a trafficker. The temptation is put forward,’ said Mr Anandan.

The veteran defence lawyer, who has personally seen three cases of excessive entrapment in the past year, believes it is a growing problem.

‘It has come to a stage where people are talking about it. I can’t give figures offhand, but the number is enough to be a little bit scary,’ he said.

The Association of Criminal Lawyers plans to put the entrapment issue to the Government in a paper it is preparing, which Mr Anandan estimates will be ready in a month or two.

Mr Low said the Law Society is not currently looking into the issue as it is working on capital punishment reform.

‘However, entrapment law reform would be timely,’ he said.

Both lawyers point out that entrapment laws were revised in 2001 in Britain, on which Singapore models its legal system.

In an October 2001 landmark case, the House of Lords ruled that it was ‘simply not acceptable that the state, through its agents, should lure its citizens into committing acts forbidden by the law and then seek to prosecute them for doing so’.

The case involved Spencer Grant Looseley, who was approached several times by an undercover police officer who tried to get him to sell drugs.

Reform in Singapore may take a while yet, but Mr Anandan suggested in the meantime, judges can indicate in their verdict their dissatisfaction with the current entrapment laws, in the hope of inspiring legislative change.

‘Parliament must do something. For the judiciary, their hands are tied as the law is very clear.’

more links and newspaper articles

newspaper articles

HUMAN beings are not perfect creatures. We have inherent weaknesses and whether we succumb to them, resulting in negative acts, depends on our education, values, external influences and temptation.
I don’t think the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) should be playing the devil’s role and going all out to persistently tempt the weak to commit an offence and then apprehending them (trainee doctor Adrian Yeo, in the latest case) in the name of law and order.

Such tactics have no place in a civilised society.

Jackie Lau Wai Wan (Ms)

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