Real photos of a Singapore caning

No, these are not from a sicko snuff movie. This is what happens if you chew gum in Singapore. (Not really; the canee was convicted of rape, and this is just part of his punishment.) An interesting glimpse into an aspect of the culture here that is so different from anything we know back home….

can 1a.jpg
cane 1.jpg
cane 2.jpg

I also thought this would offer a nice balance to Conrad’s weekly “Different Perspectives” photos.


Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 90 Comments

why i can’t see the phone for caning punishment (real)

September 13, 2005 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

I think the word “gook” still applies to the governments of Malaysia and Singapore who perpetrate this.

September 14, 2005 @ 9:05 am | Comment

For armed robbery u can get caned but for shop theft u are not caned.

i’m against caning because its too cruel but i dont understend singaporean laws ,why shop theft is not punishable by caning and overstaying visa is punishable by caning?

September 15, 2005 @ 2:41 am | Comment

but in Singapore still rapers , armed robers , drugs and there are caning , caning is not the panacea to fight against crimes as commonly supposed.

September 15, 2005 @ 2:45 am | Comment

this is soooo mank i showd all my friends and they sed ‘a person has to chew their daily gum…’
‘wot bout nicatine gum?lol’

September 29, 2005 @ 5:09 am | Comment

this fucker raped someone. personally, i think this is a completely fair punishment. he violated someone’s body, and now he’s getting a taste of his own medicine (excuse the cliche please). i can’t believe any of you feel pity for this sicko. maybe next time he’ll think before he decides to take advantage of a woman.

October 6, 2005 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

I am a german doing an internship in S’pore right now. A german colleage of mine was in prison last week because he touched an asian girl on her backside in a disco – he and the girls were drunken, but she decided to go to the security man to tell him about the german guy. Now he is waiting for his conviction. The plicemen threatens him that he would get at least 3 strokes for his offence. What about this? He has the worst time of his live because of touching a girl on her back. Is this fair?

October 11, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

I honestly don’t believe it. I lived there, and they spare the cane for more serious things, especially with foreigners.

October 11, 2005 @ 8:13 pm | Comment

I got the cane when I was 12 – 6 on my bare bum. It hurt so much I pooped myself

October 12, 2005 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

I hope you had you nose rubbed in your poo Fatboy! Who caned you? Did anyone else see?

October 12, 2005 @ 11:22 pm | Comment

A punishment like this is entirely appropriate for a personal crime like rape, child molestation, etc. Not only does it punish the criminal in a personal way, but it sends a loud and clear message to society that crimes like this are not tollerated. Further, it must give some solace to the victim.

My ex-wife was a rape victim – and I’m here to tell you that it was a life-changing experience for her. The rapist was not prosecuted even though she went to the police and knew who he was. She got no “closure” from our glorious “justice system” here in the US. The system raped her after he finished with her. On the other hand, had he been prosecuted and caned as well as doing jail time, she probably would not have been so deeply haunted by the whole thing.

I consider “cruel” or “unusual punishment” to be punishment that is disproportionately greater than the gravity of the crime. Caning is proportionate with respect to person crimes.

I found this site while writing an article for my blog at You may find it interesting.

October 13, 2005 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

What is up with this .,… YOur butt is so hot you Chinese people! Tell him to email me! Love for ever you cinks

October 14, 2005 @ 6:26 am | Comment

Claire: my aunt (who was caning me) and her 10 year old daughter (who I’d touched up to earn the caning). And yes, I did get my nose pushed in it, much to cousin Deborah’s delight

October 16, 2005 @ 1:28 am | Comment

I am glad you had your nose rubbed in your own stinking filth you disgusting little boy. It is a shame the caning wasn’t done in front of all the girls in your school so they could watch you poop yourself.

November 1, 2005 @ 1:47 pm | Comment

Gee..too bad people have to resort to name calling in this arguement. My opinion…Singapore is a soverign nation, and has the right to implement it’s own laws. I’m a U.S.citizen, and believe the U.S. has it’s own problems with respect to laws regarding the severity of the crime and its related punishment. For example, the U.S. has the highest per capita prison population in the world, with approximately 40% of those incarcerated being convicted of nonviolent crimes. What’s more reasonable…years in prison for drug possesstion, of a couple of stroke of the cane?

November 10, 2005 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

You people are all idiots. the punishment was (“just”) you do the crime you do the time. or in this case accept the punishment as set forth. They knew the rules and yet they broke them so hence forth they should be held responsible and accept the punishment. without laws or disclipline there will be anarchy.

do the crime do the time.

– enough said on this.

November 12, 2005 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

I,m a man from sweden who would
love a caning like this…..paintoyboy

November 14, 2005 @ 5:39 am | Comment

This is an entirely appropriate punishment for a lying cheating narcissistic psychopathic child-molesting scumbag like my ex. Or any other rapist or sexual molester, especially paedophiles.
Not however appropriate for lesser crimes like car theft or whatever, that’s just extreme.
Extreme crimes warrant extreme punishment. Hey, it’s better than death, for goodness sake.
Best advice is to avoid committing a crime in a country that administers this kind of punishment. Too logical, hey?

November 17, 2005 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

As is usually the case, most comments show compassion for the perpetrator. Compassion should be for the victim. I’m not as concerned about trying to rehabilitate the criminal as I am about trying to help the victim overcome there physical and emotional scars. If it’s a violent crime, I say cane the hell out of them.

November 24, 2005 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

Mutilation is cruel and unusual punishment. We are supposed to be above that. The perpetrators should be forced to suffer a long, miserable jail sentence but not physical torture.

November 24, 2005 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

You’d also have a lot less crime if you also made it a police state and made everyone wear big signs around their necks with their name and ID number. Idiot.

December 1, 2005 @ 4:31 pm | Comment

my name is melissa
an i am only thrihteen and me and my mum wacthed it the somirong i think it is at atroses that a australian that has to get hung. i think that it was wrong of him to do that but hangin is the soultion for this. he should of just had the needle. all the best goes out to his family

December 1, 2005 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

Canning should be applied universaly for all violent crimes. It should be understood that criminals forego all their human rights when they commit the crime. Imagine a thug gets into your home at night, beats you sensless, rapes your wife, kills your dog and steals your stash, and then he gets caught. It would only be fair that his ass gets ripped open with AT LEAST 24 strokes.

Having said that, maybe 4 (reduced from 6 after all the complaints) strokes for the little american vandal was a bit extreme. 4 months in jail and the fine are, in my opinion, sufficient.

Being South African i hear about weird crime/justice things all the time. Check this out…. Couple of burglars broke into the house around midnight. They tied the father, mother and daughter, and beat the father couple of times so he would tell them where the cash is and the combination for the safe. Then, expecting to have the whole night they made sandwiches and took their sweet time robbing them. However the SON came back from partying around 3am, noticed that something was wrong, took his gun (in SA a lot of people carry guns in their cars) and shot both guys in their legs.

Having disabled them (but not killed) he proceeded to free his family and then him and father tied up the burglars, and went medieval on them. Torturing continued for about an hour (using fish hooks and stuff) and then they called the police. Police was shocked with what they found, but after all…so what they were burglars.

Well, after recovering, the BURGLARS ten sued the family for what they did to them!!

In my opinion this is wrong. The burglars gave up their rights when they broke into the home. Anything that happened to them between then and arrival of police is their fault.

Some people disagree. Interesting argument…dont you think? Maybe if the family knew that the thieves would get canned, they wouldn’t have been so rough with them.

December 4, 2005 @ 6:41 pm | Comment

Nice ass…

December 4, 2005 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

Cruel and unusual punishment must be banned, as it is in most civilized societies. Beatings, torture, skinning people alive, crucifixion — all are rqually repugnant, as they employ cruelty, physical misery. Do these people deserve it? Perhaps. But as a society we are more advanced than this, and there are ways to punish people that are as severe as physical violence in their effects without being cruel and barbaric.

December 4, 2005 @ 6:57 pm | Comment

The burglary story is totally irrelevant. This isn’;t about whether crime is bad or whether the judicial system isn’t fucked up. It’s about legislating torture.

December 4, 2005 @ 6:58 pm | Comment

Why do people think that “cruel and unusual punishment” means “cruel OR unusual punisment”? The punishment needs to fit the crime — it should be neither too low nor too high. Maybe people have basic human rights. Maybe people have a right to not get raped, killed, etc., and maybe this guy has a right not to have his ass beaten raw.

And why is prison such a better punishment? That 20 years in prison is a good third or fourth of your life. Why is it some people are strongly opposed to the death sentence but think that life in prison is not a “death by old age” sentence? The only way prison is better is that the sentence can be abouted if a year or two later if new evidence shows that he was not guilty.

December 5, 2005 @ 1:42 am | Comment

All civilized societies have disavowed torture and physical punishment (dismemberment, crucifixion, bone crushing, stretching machines, needles in the eyeballs, yanking off toe nails, etc.). If you are asking why and if you are defending such odious and anti-Judeo-Christian practices, then it says a lot abut you.

December 5, 2005 @ 1:57 am | Comment

Legislating torture?

Many countries endorse state funded murder with the death penalty…glass houses.

The cane is used to reduce recidivism.

They actually went easy on michael fay , 12 lashes reduced to 4 . He deserved his punnishment.

The USA has the worlds largest prison population. Tax payer funded.
It is arguable that overcrowded prison environments where rape/violence is often the norm and hence part of the punnishment ,is a more cruel punnishment.

Something like this could reduce costs, recidivism and serve as a deterant.

December 5, 2005 @ 2:36 am | Comment

Yeah, whatever. You can also reduce crime by allowing the police to shoot suspects at will, and by making people carry ID cards or wear RFID sensors. But that’s not what a free and advanced society is supposed to about now, is it?

December 5, 2005 @ 2:53 am | Comment


Please stop all this hypocritical crap about what a “free and advanced society” is supposed to be, and carping on other countries, when the most “free and advanced society” in the world sees it fit to torture hundreds of individuals without trial in Guantanamo, Iraq and Eastern Europe. At least the US had some locus standi during the Michael Fay incident to protest against the caning, but that was 1994, and another US altogether. (Don’t blame me, I voted Kerry too)

December 5, 2005 @ 1:01 pm | Comment

Daniel, I blast Bush and my own country all the time for going againsty what a civilized country should be.

December 5, 2005 @ 4:49 pm | Comment

He has been knocked down, but I fear the fact that the House elections are one year away, and knowing the rabid Fox news types, they could very well swing it ard for him again in this period.

Anyway, putting aside US politics, I fear that Bush and his ilk have made it very difficult for us to take the moral high grd. Sure, China’s abuses of human rights is extreme, but how about countries like Singapore where there has been economic progress (I have been going there since the late 1970s and have seen its progress with my own eyes – both economic and (slowly but surely) political). I find it very difficult to tell my Singapore friends that the freedom of press works in the US, given that it bamboozled enough pple to vote for Bush in 2004, and the virtual wall of silence in the US surrounding the decision to go to war. Sure, it is unravelling a bit now, but I can tell you that many of the die-hard conservatives are simply taking the position that it’s a liberal press conspiracy.

Well, sorry for this rant about US politics (and I suspect we share fairly similar views abt politics in general), I know this is a blog abt Asia, but I just want to say that the most impt thing for Americans rt now is to really work at getting our own house in order before we tell others what to do with theirs.

December 5, 2005 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

Punishments which the country’s corrective system uses tells more about the society itself and its way of raising children than anything else.

Society which practises corporeal punishments and which hangs from larceny, must absolutely hate its most innocent and vulnerable members – the children. I just wonder what might be the children’s and juveniles’ suicide rate in .sg?

December 6, 2005 @ 11:18 am | Comment

Interesting point.

I think it’s more barbaric that some individuals got so excited they felt the need to point out that caning is cruel, and in the process forgot WHY the caning is taking place…

Putting the rights of a rapist anywhere in the picture is ridiculous.

Talking about “human rights” in that context is insane. The rapist destroys their victims “human rights”. It seems fitting that they have their “human rights” stripped from them.

Why not consider all the components before harping about what Humanity is all about?

Granted, it takes a certain mentality to administer a punishment so severe, and there’s always the need for a “fair trial”…

…but it takes a radical type of ignorance to miss the fact that a criminal puts themselves in the lineup for it, and the punishment – might – not be the first step “over the line” in this context.

December 7, 2005 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

caning sort of excites me in a perverse sort of way… I could watch a caning and go wank off…

December 8, 2005 @ 6:22 pm | Comment

I don’t think they should cane till they cut the skin and cause bleeding… but they could cut back some and just cause bruising and redness – that woujld be ok… and then have at it and go 50 strokes!

yeow!!! stripe my arse! yeah! it makes my noogies draw up pleasurably just to say that!!!

whip me! whip me now! nekkid!!! yeow!!!

December 8, 2005 @ 6:25 pm | Comment

What the f#$% is going on u bunch of idiots? Canning is fuking barbaric

December 8, 2005 @ 7:39 pm | Comment

I find it interesting that you hear so much about gender descrimination and yet this horrible practice around the world in fact for the last two hundred years caning was only done to men and still is. Maybe the NOW needs to go to Singapore and demand that women be treated just as brutally under the law as men are. After all if were the same then why are women spared this brutual punishment. Sometimes I wonder who the oppressed sex really is?

December 9, 2005 @ 6:08 am | Comment

Diem, no one forgot the crime. Rape is barbaric. But the answer is not mutilation. No matter how heinous the crime, you do not descend to the level of barbarity of the perpetrator. I will say it once more: mutilation of another person’s body is barbaric and unacceptable and not tolerated in any advanced society. Even for the worst concentration camp guards and torturers, the answer is not more torture and mutilation. We are supposed to be better than that. An eye for an eye is ancient philosophy replaced by more enlightened ideas and ideals, discarded by civilized societies long ago. Caning is mutilation. Mutilation is wrong. It is barbaric. You do not overcome barbarism by descending to barbarism. Thread closed.

December 10, 2005 @ 2:27 am | Comment

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