Singapore:Two Germans sentenced to nine months imprisonment and three whips 


March 5, Singapore: A Singapore court has sentenced two German citizens  to nine months imprisonment and three strokes each for breaking into a depot and spray-painting graffiti on a commuter train.

Andreas Von Knorre, 22, and Elton Hinz, 21, have bee accused of vandalism and trespass after they broke into one of Singapore’s train depots last November to spray-paint a carriage.

The men then fled Singapore, only to be tracked down in neighboring Malaysia in an international manhunt and were later brought back to the city-state to face trial.

“This is the darkest episode of my entire life,” said Von Knorre while being sentenced. “I want to apologise to the state of Singapore for the stupid act … I’ve learned my lesson and will never do it again.”

Meanwhile, Hinz was also quoted saying,  “I promise I will never do it again. I want to apologize to you, and my family for the shame and situation I’ve put them into.”

Singapore, which is well known for its cleanliness and its zero tolerance to crime, uses the rattan cane to carry out a sentence.Prisoners are stripped and strapped to a wooden trestle with a medical officer on hand to intervene if necessary.

Victims who have been caned have called the experience excruciatingly painful.In recent years, Singapore has poured funds into nurturing and promoting its arts scene, including opening some public space for graffiti, as it works to change its image beyond just an efficient business hub.But its artists remain hindered by strict censorship and a tight government grip on the media.

In 2012, local artist Samantha Lo was arrested for placing humorous stickers on traffic light poles and spray-painting road signs, triggering an outcry and heated debates on the vandalism laws.

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