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CRIME

Germans face flogging after Singapore charge

Two German men were charged Saturday with breaking into a Singapore metro depot and spray-painting graffiti on a train, offences punishable by jail time and flogging with a cane.

Germans face flogging after Singapore charge
Andreas Van Knorre being transported by Singapore police. Photo: Wallace Woon/DPA

Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz, both 21, were charged at a district court with committing trespass and vandalism in the early hours of November 8th.

Both men appeared relaxed as the charges were read to them in German by an interpreter.

Prosecutors told the judge the two men will be remanded in police custody until November 28th "to assist investigations and re enact the crime scene".

The charge sheets said Van Knorre and Hinz broke into the suburban depot and spray-painted graffiti on the exterior of a metro train cabin. The depot is a restricted zone surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire.

The two men were extradited by neighbouring Malaysia on Friday after being apprehended at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as they were leaving for Australia.

The Straits Times newspaper said in a report Saturday the two men have visas to work in Australia.

For trespassing they face up to two years in jail, a fine of up to Sg$1,000 ($800), or both.

For vandalism, they face up to three years in jail or a fine of up to Sg$2,000, and between three and eight strokes of a rattan cane — a punishment dating back to British colonial rule.

Singapore, a leading Asian financial hub, is well-known for its tough stance on crime.

The city-state's vandalism laws became global news in 1994 when an American teenager, Michael Fay, was caned for damaging cars and public property despite appeals for clemency from the US government.

In 2010, Swiss expatriate Oliver Fricker was sentenced to seven months in jail and three strokes of the cane for vandalising a train at a depot in the city-state.

Caning entails being whipped with a rattan stick on the back of the thigh below the buttocks, which can split the skin and leave lasting scars.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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