Singapore issues arrest warrant for Briton in vandalism case
Singapore police said Tuesday they want to arrest a British man they believe could have vandalised a metro train, as his alleged accomplice awaited trial under the island state's tough laws.
Swiss business consultant Oliver Fricker posted 100,000 Singapore dollars (71,000 US) bail on Monday after appearing in court charged with daubing elaborate graffiti on a train, for which he could be jailed, fined and whipped with a wooden cane.
Now police in the famously-strict city say they think he may not have acted alone.
"Police investigations disclosed that there is an accomplice who is at large," a spokeswoman for the Singapore Police Force told AFP.
"The identity of the accomplice has been established to be one Lloyd Dane Alexander... Police have applied for a warrant of arrest which the... court has granted," the spokeswoman said.
Police said Alexander left Singapore before the incident was reported to authorities on May 19 and they declined to comment on local media reports that the British national may have flown to Hong Kong.
Singapore's Straits Times has suggested that Fricker could be part of a group of underground graffiti artists targeting metro trains around the world.
Vandalism is punishable by up to three years' jail or a maximum fine of 2,000 Singapore dollars, plus three to eight strokes of a wooden cane, a punishment dating from British colonial rule.
In addition to the vandalism charge, Fricker faces two years' jail or a fine of 1,000 dollars, or both, for trespassing into a protected area.
The train has been scrubbed clean but the clip taken by a commuter can still be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CV4JYKBEQo
Singapore'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.
© 2010 AFP