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     Community Issues: Entrapment: A Necessary Enforcement Tool

 

 

Excerpt of article "Young doctor jailed eight months for possessing ice" in The Straits Times of 8 Jun 2006 (3)

"Taxi driver's son Adrian Yeo See Seng had a bright future as a doctor but the 27-year-old threw it all away when he experimented with sex and drugs...

"He was caught when a man he chatted with online invited him for a sex session with a third man at a Bencoolen Street hotel.

"But the two strangers turned out to be undercover anti-narcotics officers who found dugs on Yeo when he arrived, and arrested him.

"He was yesterday jailed for eight months after he admitted to having a packet of 0.16g of methamphetamine or Ice at the Bencoolen Street Hotel room on April 1..."
 

 

Excerpt of article "Entrapment: Lawyers say narcotics officers crossed the line in quest to nab offender, but any method of entrapment is legal here" in The Straits Times of 9 Jun 2006 (H1)

"...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...

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

 

 

Excerpt of letter by Lionel De Souza in the Forum Page of The Straits Times of 10 Jun 2006 (H14)

"...An agent provocateur is one who suggests the commission of a crime to another in the hope that the individual would go along with the suggestion.

"On the other hand, an entrapment usually takes place after due investigation of information, such as that an individual is engaged in nefarious activities like trafficking or abusing controlled drugs.

"After being satisfied with the authenticity of the information, and if the enforcement officers conclude that a sting operation is needed so as to catch the culprit red-handed with incriminating evidence, it would then be perfectly legal and ethical to resort to entrapment.

"This was what happened to Yeo when he turned up for a gay-sex session at the Bencoolen Street hotel..."
 

 

Excerpt of letter by Jackie Lau Wai Wan (Ms) in the Forum Page of The Straits Times of 10 Jun 2006 (H14)

"...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."

 

 

Excerpt of editorial "Entrapment: Fair or not?" in The Straits Times of 14 Jun 2006 (22)

"There are plausible reasons disquiet has spread over the case of Adrian Yeo, a 26-year-old houseman who was lured by law enforcement officers into committing a drugs offence for which he received a jail sentence of eight months. The sense of discomfort centres on the ethics and morality of entrapment as a validation tool in crime detection...

"The legality of entrapment under current law and the admissibility of evidence so obtained are not questioned. But it is reasonable to ask if resort to the method could be justified whatever the circumstances and the nature of the offence a person is under watch for. Yeo was not known to be a dealer; he said he had only consumed methamphetamines. Fair-minded people are entitled to point out it seems neither fair nor ethical to encourage a person to break the law, just for enforcement agencies to gather evidence..."

 

 

Excerpt of letter by Mrs Ong-Chew Peck Wan, Director, Corporate Communications Division, for Permanent Secretary (Home Affairs), in the Forum Page of The Straits Times of 16 Jun 2006 (H23)

"...In fact, Yeo would not have been of any interest to CNB otherwise; it was his drug abuse which led CNB to investigate him in the first place.

"When Yeo was asked if he had any drugs, Yeo volunteered to bring drugs to the hotel where he was subsequently arrested with Ecstasy, `Ice¨, and Ketamine.
"Adrian Yeo was, therefore, not a law-abiding person enticed into committing an offence by CNB. In omitting to highlight the fact that Yeo was a habitual drug abuser, the ST report has misled readers into thinking that CNB had acted unethically when the circumstances of the case clearly show the contrary and that CNB had acted professionally.
"The ST editorial of 14 Jun suggests that law enforcement methods like entrapment should be reserved for only more serious offences involving drug trafficking and 'national security', rather than drug abuse. This demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the situation. Drug abuse is a serious threat....

"A majority of those arrested for synthetic drug abuse are first time offenders. One of the concerns this trend raises is the mentality of certain segments of our society who think that synthetic drugs are 'soft' drugs which should be tolerated as they are acceptable as part of a modern 'cool' lifestyle. This is a dangerous attitude which we must not allow to take root in our society.

"The ST editorial also suggested that because Yeo is a taxi-driver¨s son who made it as a doctor, but whose future is now uncertain, the action taken against him will 'reinforce in some people a sense that natural justice had been violated.'
"This is a strange argument. Surely the ST is not suggesting that the CNB action would be fairer and more just if Yeo had been related to a person of high social standing?
"This cannot be the way our criminal justice system should work. Indeed, if the application of our criminal laws and the actions of our law enforcement agencies are to be dictated by factors such as an offender¨s family connections, income and social status this will be highly unjust and perverse, and no Singaporean will stand for it..."

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