Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy 'Van Tuong Nguyen' Day

Well today is the day. With no chance of reprieve in sight, Van Tuong Nguyen will almost definitely hang today.

If the crowing and bleating is this bad when one person goes to their death, just imagine how bad it will be when the 'Bali 9' go before the firing squad...

I am all excited with anticipation... NOT

UPDATE: 7:40 am, well it appears to have happened and going by the media coverage Van Nguyen is now a martyr. He can someone who could have been responsible for helping to ruin the lives of hundreds of people be a martyr?

The jokes have started too...
If you think the funnelwebs are deadly in Sydney, you should see the trapdoors in Singapore...

An SMS reportedly sent by Van:
"hi mum it's van... won't make it home for xmas, just hanging out in Singapore"

UPDATE: 8:00 am

I found this letter in the Straits Times. Yes, I know they are essentially a government mouthpiece but the points made are quite valid.
Nguyen pushed drugs despite twin's addiction

AS AN American who has accepted my country's use of the death penalty to punish murderers, I hope to offer a relatively objective view of the controversy over Singapore's execution of Australian heroin trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van.

I find the mandatory death sentence for the non-violent crime of drug trafficking to be incredibly harsh. I therefore would expect Australia to plead for clemency, and I support its efforts in doing so. Yet, I do not think that disputing the death penalty should devolve into attacks on Singapore.

Some Australian clemency sentiments have morphed into unfair and witless attacks on Singapore: Official calls for trade bans; threats of long-term resentment; a union's talk of refusing to service Singapore Airlines planes at Australian airports; and even the insulting characterisation of Singapore as a 'rogue Chinese port city'.

These attacks on Singapore lack the perspective of Nguyen's culpability and forget that Singapore did not instigate the present controversy - rather, Singapore is reacting to a crime with good-faith application of its long-established laws.

Have some Australians forgotten that Nguyen carried out an activity whose only possible outcome would be to harm the people of Australia? The country is his adopted homeland, it is the place that welcomed and supported his family fleeing Vietnam.

What makes his crime even more egregious is that he knew, first-hand, the harm that heroin can inflict on a family because his twin brother Khoa was an addict - yet he sought out the trafficking job, knowing full well that he would facilitate the pain of drugs he experienced upon other families.

Compare Nguyen's intended harm to Australia with Singapore's law enforcement: Looking at it with emotional detachment, Singapore's mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, if anything, helps Australia.

By deterring traffickers from going through Singapore, a major transit point between heroin-growing regions and Australia, drug suppliers would have a much more difficult time distributing their poisons.

Singapore did not start the controversy, Nguyen did. Singapore has had its death penalty on the books for the past few decades. The country is enforcing the death penalty on Nguyen just as it had for hundreds of other criminals. This is nothing new.

Yet only now are some Australians attacking Singapore at a fever pitch-when the law is being enforced against an Australian.

Warren K. Woo
California, USA

UPDATE: 2:40 pm
Queensland Parliament's silent tribute

Queensland parliament observed a minute's silence for hanged convicted drug smuggler Nguyen Tuong Van despite comments that it was an `insult' to diggers.

Premier Peter Beattie moved a motion to mark the death of the 25-year-old Melbourne man, who went to the gallows in Singapore's Changi Prison early today, as a `gesture of sympathy' for his family.

Bloody hell.

Geez, if you are gonna hold a minute's silence for Van Nguyen, why didn't you hold a minute silence for when David Birnie died in gaol? Mr Birnie and his wife only killed 4 women, the 400g of heroin could have ended or at least ruined hundreds of times more lives than that.

How about if Saddam Hussein gets the death penalty, will people plead for clemency or hold a minute silence for his death?


Anonymous said...

The Australian Govenment maybe be having a meeting to hold a state funerel for Convicted Drug Smuggler VAN Tuong Nguyen's

Anonymous said...

VAN Tuong Nguyen's Brother should be charged and how dare we disagree with another countries laws, everyone is fully aware that the offense is death, so when one takes this step they are ready too die.

Imagine the lives lost if the drugs arrived here in Australia, 26.000 lives would be destroyed, not to mention the crime rate for people to purchase the drug.

To many people scream out, he did not have to face years in prison growing old and sick.

James said...

We should be thankful that the Federal Police set him up like the Bali 9 so we (the Australian taxpayer) don't have to support him and his legal expenses....

I think someone high up in "law enforcement" has found a new/novel approach to lowering the Australian prison populations... or at least reducing the number of drug dealers added to them

Craig said...

In reference to the Bali 9, of the people caught at Denpasar airport, one had 2.7 kg, another had 3.3 kg and another had 1.5 kg of heroin strapped to their bodies.

If Van had only 400g, the 3 above are gonna be seeing some lead fairly soon...

Dave said...

Socially, exaggeration is often whimsical. But when a government dramatically inflates numbers to help justify a death sentence, the integrity of both the trial and its governing body becomes questionable. In this case, the government is Singapore, the trial was for Van Tuong Nguyen, and the bloated number is 26,000.

Press from around the world quotes Abdullah Tarmugi, the Speaker of Singapore Parliament, in writing about the potential consequences of Van's actions, "almost 400 grams of pure heroin, enough for more than 26,000 doses."

But how was 26,000 doses (or "hits") derived?

It turns out that what constitutes a hit of heroin is not an easy thing to count. There are dozens of factors to consider; contact your local Needle Exchange for a comprehensive list. However, after collecting statistics from over a dozen sources (including police reports, narcotics web sites, health information, and workers from needle exchanges), the number of hits from a gram of pure heroin averages out to little more than 14.

Van Tuong Nguyen trafficked 396.2 grams of heroin into Singapore. This is approximately 5,600 doses.

The numbers 5,600 and 26,000 are obviously incongruous, as are reports that 400 grams of heroin would "ruin 26,000 lives". In fact, 400 grams of heroin would not come close to ruining even 5,600 lives. Rather, the heroin would most likely supply people already abusing it. With a little more research, we can estimate how many lives would be adversely affected by 400 grams of heroin during one year:

As many as 67, and as few as 6.

Van Tuong Nguyen would not have sent 26,000 people to their deaths from 400 grams of heroin. Nor would the lives of 26,000 people have been ruined. Far more likely is that six people would get a year's worth of hits. And for this he was executed?

Call it dreadful, call it dense, call it incomprehensible ... but do not call it justice.

Craig said...

How about we try a new way of dealing with the drug traffickers...

Inject/injest the criminal with all of the drugs they were carrying. If they survive, they can go free. If they are willing to gamble with their life by taking drugs through Singapore, I'm sure they will be willing to play Russian roulette with what they make their money from.

James said...

Actually Dave he was executed because he failed to take heed of the warnings and was subjected to the Singaporean legal/justice system.

I don't care that Singapore has the death penalty for drug trafficking because I'm not a courier/mule/dickhead... the same goes for the rest of the South East Asian countries with a similar penalty.

There was no question that he did it, he did plead guilty and one can only assume that he was aware of the risk that he took attempting to pass through Singapore carrying heroin.

The quantity, quality and the figures quoted by Singaporean officials are immaterial. He committed a crime and there is a penalty for that.

So you believe that the penatly is too harsh... Don't do the crime and it won't be an issue. Why do people care that he's being executed (well has been now)? Does protesting somehow make you feel better? What if he'd had his sentence "reduced" to life in prison in Singapore. Frankly I'd rather be executed than suffer through that. Perhaps that would be a harsher penalty.

ben said...

Yea exactly, why would anyone give a damn about the death penalty in Singapore if they didn't have any drugs on them in the first place?

All this wouldn't have happened if Van didn't brought it on himself.

I'm not opposed to it although I did feel the death penalty was rather harsh in this case, but thinking about it now, I also felt somewhat apologetic for Singapore who's made out to look like the bad guy now - and only now when they're gonna execute a fellow Aussie - when they have had the death penalty since their independence.

Craig said...

And why now are they showing all this concern for someone who committed a criminal act and is now dead?

Where is their concern for the 40,000+ people killed in Iraq since the the US-led invasion or the 50,000+ refugees who have died in Darfur? The majority of these people have committed no crime and have more right to live than what Van Nguyen did.

Face it people, he gambled with his life and lost.