A photograph of two train vandals was posted to rail operator SMRT’s Facebook page today (Oct 4) morning.The picture showed two men posing on the tracks in front of a train, was shared by a user going by the name “Elton Henrys”. It was captioned with a taunt: “Was very nice to spraypaint your smrt Train! thanks singapore!” The post was removed soon after it went up by SMRT.
The Facebook page of Elton Henrys suggests that he could be Elton Hinz, the German national who was sentenced with Andreas Von Knorre to nine months’ jail and three strokes of the cane in March 2015.
in 2014, the two Germans were arrested for committing a similar act of breaking into Bishan depot and vandalizing the trains. They broke into SMRT’s Bishan Depot on three occasions and on their third, they took a photo together after spray-painting graffiti on a train carriage. They fled Singapore after the crime but were tracked down by Thai police and arrested by their Malaysian counterpart before being extradited to Singapore.
In July 2015, The people who broke into SMRT’s Bishan Depot to spray-paint the words “Jet Setter’s” on a train carriage have released a video detailing just how they did it. The video is part of a 12-part series titled ‘Probation Vacation: Lost in Asia’, by graffiti artists Utah and Ether.
They claim that they van broke into train yards all over Asia to paint trains, and their purpose was to “challenge the viewer to confront traditional beliefs concerning personal and public property, and the social context of vandalism”.
The video was uploaded on 29 Apr by a Facebook page called Grifters. Grifters claimed that the video was sent to them anonymously, but the post also had a quote from the artists. It said:
“Singapore has become known worldwide for implementing corporal punishment and harsh prison sentences for vandalism, consequences which have effectively deterred many graffiti tourists. This video marks the first Singapore Metro system (SMRT) hit to be documented on video and the second time in history that the system has been painted. The vandalism (which resulted in the SMRT being fined $200,000 for failing to follow security protocols) quickly snowballed into a scandal that garnered global attention. The general public of Singapore was outraged and the then President and CEO of SMRT Corporation was forced to resign.”
The duo were never caught by the Singapore Police for the break-in to the train station.
According to Australian news reports, Ether (Jim Clay Harper) was arrested in Melbourne in May this year on eight charges related to vandalism and assault and sentenced to six months jail. His partner, Utah remains at large. Their Facebook page however says that the artists “currently reside in Helsinki, Finland where they are working on book and film projects focusing on their travels throughout Asia.”
The Singapore Police have said that they are aware of Ether’s incarceration and is currently working with their counterparts in Australia “to facilitate investigations into the case of vandalism reported at Bishan MRT depot in August 2011.”
The video showed that the broke through SMRT’s train yard with relative ease and that they remained undetected for a fairly long period of time till they completed their art work.
Another high-profile case where a foreigner alleged of committing a crime here in Singapore remains at large is the StanChart robbery which happened in Holland Village. About 3 months after after the Singapore Police promised to pursue the StanChart bank robber, James Roach’s return from whichever country he is in, the robber continues to evade the clutches of our local law enforcement agencies. In a setback for the efforts of the Police, the Attorney-General’s Office in Bangkok rejected the Singapore authorities extradition request for Canadian national.
Roach, a Canadian, who is suspected of robbing the Singapore bank of $30,000 fled to Thailand soon after. He was apprehended by the Thai police soon after, but it did not extradite the suspect to Singapore because the Republic does not have an extradition treaty with the country.
Thailand’s head of immigration, Police Lieutenant General Nattorn Prohsunthorn, said that the Thai police did not technically arrest Roach; but that they merely cancelled his right to stay in Thailand. They are therefore not able to keep him for very long, he added.
He further said that the Canadian authorities are trying to send Roach back to his country of birth, and that they will follow Thai legal procedure in sending him away from Thailand.
The Police in responding to media queries on the Roach’s extradition said that in the event where the suspect is unable to be repatriated to Singapore directly, it will pursue his return from whichever country Thailand decides to send him to.