Executions in Singapore

Who would have thought clean ‘n cozy little Singapore would boast the world’s highest per capita rate of capital punishment?

The noose snaps and another body collapses in Singapore’s Changi prison gallows at dawn on a Friday, while nearby elderly men and women dance the rythmic rituals of tai-chi in perfectly neat parks.

Elsewhere in what is regarded as the safest nation in Asia, the younger generations are readying for work and school, while newspapers reporting virtually no local crime wait to be bought at fastidiously clean news-stands.

Dawn on Friday is execution time in Singapore, the nation that human rights group Amnesty International says has the highest death penalty rate per capita in the world.

According to Amnesty, 408 people have been hanged to death here since 1991, with authorities, who keep a tight grip on the local media, ensuring there is little public debate about its controversial system of capital punishment.

According to the intriguing article, other countries are casting admiring glances at Singapore’s zero-tolerance approach to crime, and are embracing the death penalty themselves.

No need to tell you which country is the leader in terms of sheer numbers of executions.

Although Singapore has the highest rate of executions per capita, China is the clear leader in sheer number of people put to death, with the government’s “strike-hard campaign” against corruption throwing renewed focus on capital punishment.

Chinese authorities ensure the total numbers executed each year remain secret. Yet Amnesty said it had been able to determine 1,060 executions in China in 2002, and 2,468 the year before, with the actual number believed to be far higher.

In one particular death frenzy, Amnesty said at least 150 accused drug criminals were executed across China in June 2002 to mark the United Nations’ International Drugs Day.

“China stands out completely on its own. By all standards it goes off the scale,” Massage said.

The UN must have really appreciated the celebration.

[Update: Be sure to see Shuxie’s take on executions in Singapore.]

The Discussion: 7 Comments

Richard, you might have wanted to put the CNA article in perspective, because there was no article when the Amnesty International report was issued. It apparently took them a few days to find some kind of ‘justification’.

January 18, 2004 @ 9:49 pm | Comment

Sorry Alexandre, I didn’t know they stalled on writing up the AI report. Still, the article is quite interesting, don’t you think?

January 18, 2004 @ 10:15 pm | Comment

Yes, but I find it a bit too much ‘a propos’. You must admit that the Singapore press does not report often on death penalty elsewhere in Asia…

I wrote my bit on that:

January 18, 2004 @ 10:41 pm | Comment

I think if the Sg govt were to change the law on death penalty for drug trafficking, state executions would probably be not as high.

January 19, 2004 @ 11:26 am | Comment

Idle, it is true. Their drug regulations are so stringent, they are absurd. Yes, drugs are bad, but to execute a kid for having half an ounce of pot….

January 22, 2004 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

Google linked me to this page and its what I was looking for

February 25, 2004 @ 5:14 am | Comment

Google linked me to this page and its what I was looking for

February 25, 2004 @ 6:26 am | Comment

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