Stupid or desperate

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 1995, 12:00am

CONCERNING recent correspondence about the effectiveness of Singapore's drug trafficking rule and as referred to in Gavin Teo's letter (South China Morning Post, January 30), it is difficult to argue against any aspect of the promulgation of these rules or of individual responsibility - if they are fully understood.

However, the supposed comprehension of consequences by some wretched courier is a different matter and this must erode the deterrent effect. It is easy to believe that many 'up-front' carriers are either desperate or stupid or a combination of both and that they are incapable of understanding what they are getting into.

A recently well-publicised case gave the impression that an organising trafficker although arrested and convicted elsewhere, escaped serious punishment whilst the ultimate carrier received capital punishment in Singapore.

It seems safe to assume that it will always be relatively easy for the professional traffickers to dupe and recruit the lower order of expendable and easily replaced couriers. Singapore's rules are therefore only partially effective and it is to be hoped that they are being supplemented by a strong and international effort to locate, convict and punish the true motive force behind this tragic trade.

It would be unfortunate if the odd hanging, however justified by the rules, reinforced complacency by providing politically correct but misleading statistics.