Singapore is set to execute an Australian drug trafficker who was caught in transit at Changi Airport. The man who will perform the job has been revealed and profiled in the Australian newspaper (via Omeka Na Huria).:
The hangman who will execute Australian drug trafficker Van Tuong Nguyen in Singapore has been revealed as a semi-retired 73-year-old grandfather.
In a matter of weeks, Darshan Singh will place a rope around the 25-year-old’s neck and say the words he has spoken to more than 850 condemned prisoners during his 46 years as Singapore’s chief executioner.
"I am going to send you to a better place than this. God bless you."
Nguyen’s hopes of escaping the gallows receded further yesterday when the Singaporean Government confirmed that it would not make an exception for the Australian.
Mr Singh has officially retired from the prison service but is called upon to carry out executions, for which he receives a fee of $S400 (Au$312).
Until now, his indentity has been a closely guarded secret in Singapore.
Officials rarely comment on capital punishment, which is carried out without publicity behind the walls of Changi prison.
But The Australian can reveal today that the 73-year-old grandfather, who lives in a modest, government-owned apartment near the border with Malaysia, has been asked to execute Nguyen unless the Singapore Government gives an unprecedented last-minute reprieve.
Mr Singh told The Australian yesterday that under the Official Secrets Act he was forbidden from speaking about his work.
A colleague and close friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Australian that Mr Singh wanted to give up his hangman’s responsibilities and live quietly in retirement but the authorities were having trouble finding anyone to replace him.
"He tried to train two would-be hangmen to replace him, a Malaysian and a Chinese, both in the prison service," the colleague said.
"But when it came to pulling the lever for the real thing, they both froze and could not do it.
"The Chinese guy, a prison officer, became so distraught he walked out immediately and resigned from the prison service altogether."
If the city state needs another executioner to replace Mr Singh, I would recommend raising the salary to above US$236 per execution. Better still, abolish the position.
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, singapore, southeast asia
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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November 16th, 2005 at 9:27 pm
In Changi jail upon death row
Breathe live corpses, unjust woe.
No darker space condemned to die,
Where Time, still barely etching by,
Weeps words amid the bleak sorrow.
Compassion’s Dead, gone long ago.
They tried, went wrong; felt hatred grow,
Loved and are loved, they should not die,
In Changi jail.
A wake for them, who cannot show,
To you their failing hearts let go.
And on their eve when death is nigh,
Nary lose faith with those who die.
For know, down deep, injustice flows
In Changi jail.