Source: The Star
Date: 18 March 2004

Singapore to hang addict
for heroin trafficking

SINGAPORE (AP) - An unemployed Singaporean drug addict has been sentenced to death for trafficking heroin, a newspaper reported Saturday. Chew Seow Leng, 43, was caught with 227 grams (8 ounces) of heroin in January, the Straits Times newspaper said.

Under Singapore's strict anti-drug laws, anyone found in possession of more than 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of heroin is presumed to be trafficking and faces a mandatory death sentence.

In statements to the court before he was convicted and sentenced Friday, Chew said he has been a drug addict since 1977 and that he uses 7.5 grams (0.3 ounces) of heroin every day, the paper said.

Justice Tay Yong Kwang rejected Chew's lawyers argument that the death penalty should be applied as a maximum rather than a mandatory sentence.

Over the last 10 years, more than 400 people have been hanged in Singapore, most for drug offenses.

Singapore has said its tough anti-drug laws have saved the country of 4 million from the drug scourge plaguing many of its neighbors.

Court officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday. - AP

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