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London court approves S'pore extradition request of suspected StanChart robber; case sent to UK Secretary of State for decision

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A London court has decided that the requirements for Singapore's extradition request for Canadian national David James Roach, who is suspected of robbing the Holland Village branch of Standard Chartered Bank in 2016, have been met.

[SINGAPORE] A London court has decided that the requirements for Singapore's extradition request for Canadian national David James Roach, who is suspected of robbing the Holland Village branch of Standard Chartered Bank in 2016, have been met.

The cases is now sent to the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for a decision on whether Roach is to be extradited, said Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Singapore authorities are working closely with the UK authorities on the next steps in this matter," said the statement.

Roach had allegedly handed the bank teller a note with his demands, then fled to Bangkok with the money the same day. He was arrested at a backpacker's hostel three days later, and was held in remand in Bangkok.

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He has been held in Britain since Jan 11 this year, after he was arrested by the British authorities in London when Singapore made a request.

He was being deported from Bangkok to Canada after serving a 14-month sentence in Thailand for violating money laundering and customs laws, and was in transit in London when he was detained.

He carried more than US$20,000 - believed to be from the robbery - when he entered Thailand.

In February, Roach had attempted to contest his extradition to Singapore in the London court.

Singapore has an extradition arrangement with Britain.

In late February, Singapore authorities had given assurance to Britain that Roach would not be caned even if he is convicted of robbery, a crime that comes with corporal punishment in Singapore.

Roach's extradition to Singapore was sought on one count of robbery under Section 392 of the Penal Code, which can carry a maximum of 10 years' jail and at least six strokes of the cane.

Another count of money laundering is also being sought, under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. This carries a maximum sentence of a S$500,000 fine or 10 years' imprisonment.

The MHA had earlier said that the assurance was necessary or British authorities would not have permitted the extradition.

"This assurance does not mean a compromise of our sovereignty. Rather, it reflects that countries have differing views on crime and punishment," said MHA's media relations director Sunny Lee in a letter to the Straits Times Forum in February.

THE STRAITS TIMES