Archive for Singapore
A United Nations report has found North Korea developed sophisticated techniques to circumvent UN sanctions, including the suspected use of its embassies to facilitate an illegal weapons trade. The report, compiled by a panel of eight UN experts, said North Korea was also making use of more complicated financial countermeasures to make its isolated purchase of banned goods more difficult to track. The publication is part of an annual accounting of North Korea’s compliance with layers of UN sanctions imposed in response to Pyongyang’s banned nuclear and missile programs. The panel reports to the UN Security Council. It said North Korean embassies in Cuba and Singapore were suspected of organising an illegal shipment of fighter jets and missile parts that were seized on a North Korean container ship in Panama last July.
The Indonesian government summoned Singapore ambassador Anil Kumar Nayar to clarify reports that Singapore had assisted Australia and the United States in spying on Asian countries, including Indonesia. New spying allegations broke on Tuesday which said Singapore and South Korea were “third parties” in an Asia-wide spy network backed by the United States and Australia, according to documents leaked by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Sydney Morning Herald published the allegations on Monday which detailed Singapore’s involvement in tapping Internet and telecommunications traffic moving through the city-state. South Korea was alleged to be a partner of Western countries in a similar plot to spy on China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The reports involving Singapore and South Korea come just as Indonesia’s week-long row with Australia over spying allegations showed some signs of cooling off.
A Singapore diplomat has been charged with inflating the number of pineapple tarts carried on official visits in the latest corruption case to hit the city-state. Lim Cheng Hoe, former chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allegedly overbilled authorities by around S$89,000 ($71,100) by overstating the amount of gifts bought for official purposes between 2008 and 2012. He faces 60 charges and could be jailed for up to three years on each, if found guilty. Singapore, a wealthy Asian finance and trade centre ranked as the world’s fifth least corrupt country by Transparency International, has been embarrassed by a number of recent cases involving senior officials. Recently, an assistant director of the anti-corruption watchdog was charged with misappropriating S$1.7m.
Singaporean students studying in Cairo said the Singapore Embassy there has been in constant contact with the student community, ensuring that they remain safe. Channel NewsAsia spoke to Nurshilah Abdul Wahid, one of the 250 Singaporean students pursuing Islamic Studies at Al-Azhar University, who is back in Singapore on a semester break. She said: “We were advised by and kept in touch with the Singapore Embassy in Cairo. They kept giving us updates on the precautionary measures we should take… And also student liason officers sent by MUIS also ensured that we stayed vigilant and kept us updated with the news and the demonstrations that are happening.” However, 69 Singaporean students at the university are still in Cairo. Some had planned to take extra classes — but these were cancelled two days ago after the unrest worsened.
Singapore welcomes the Bucharest court verdict on the hit-and-run case involving former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said. The court had sentenced Ionescu to 3 years in prison for hitting 3 pedestrians while driving in Singapore in 2009. MFA said: “Singapore welcomes the verdict delivered by the Bucharest Sector 3 Court, which sentenced former Romanian charge d’affaires in Singapore Dr Silviu Ionescu to three years in jail after a trial lasting two years and eight months. “Dr Ionescu was found guilty of the charges of manslaughter, negligent bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident.”
A Romanian court handed a three-year prison sentence to a former Romanian diplomat for killing a man in a hit-and-run accident in Singapore. A Bucharest district court sentenced Silviu Ionescu, a former embassy attache in Singapore, after he was convicted of manslaughter and fleeing the site of the accident. Neither Ionescu nor his attorneys were present at the court. Ionescu later said he would appeal the ruling, calling the Romanian justice system unfair. Ionescu had testified that he had been set up by authorities in the Asian city-state but did not explain why anyone would want to do that. He was accused of hitting two pedestrians with his car early on Dec. 15, 2009, and then hitting and injuring a third person while driving away. One of the injured men died 10 days later. Ionescu returned to Romania immediately after the accident, citing diplomatic immunity. He said he had not been driving the embassy vehicle because it had been stolen earlier.
Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed new Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Peru to Sweden, Singapore and Thailand. Former Deputy Foreign Minster Jose Baraun Aranibar will serve as new ambassador to Sweden. Ambassadors Felix Denegri Boza and Manuel Talavera Espinar will lead the Peruvian diplomatic mission in Thailand and Singapore respectively.