An Australian man faces a caning in Singapore after being arrested for allegedly being involved in a swearing altercation on a Tiger Airways flight. Bruce Griffiths, 47, a maritime worker from Perth was arrested on January 4 when the overnight flight from Perth landed in Singapore. He faces charges under strict “outrage of modesty” laws.
According to a colleague who did not wish to be named, Mr Griffiths apparently got out of his middle seat to allow a female passenger to go to the bathroom. In doing so, he disturbed a male passenger in an aisle seat who swore at him for disrupting his sleep. It is alleged Mr Griffiths returned the abuse and crew became involved.
Mr Griffiths must stay in Singapore until the case is resolved. He has been released but his passport is being held by Singaporean authorities pending investigations. Singapore has tough laws against "outrage of modesty crimes", which include using coarse language, as well as men behaving inappropriately towards women.
If convicted, Mr Griffiths could be given 24 lashes with a rattan cane 1.2m long and 1.27cm thick. Men and women younger than 16 and older than 50 are exempted. According to the US State Department 2011 Human Rights report, 2318 convicted people in Singapore were sentenced to judicial caning and 98.9 per cent of caning sentences were carried out. The number is well down on 2007, when 95 per cent of the 6404 convicted were caned.