Australian faces Singapore caning for plane row

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 11:59am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 12:37pm


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An Australian man is facing a caning in Singapore after being accused of swearing during an argument on Tiger Airways flight.

The West Australian newspaper wrote that Perth maritime worker Bruce Griffiths, 47, entered into a loud argument with another man during an overnight flight from Perth to Singapore on January 3.

Seated in the middle of a row, Griffiths had apparently disturbed the man while trying to move seats to allow a woman to reach a toilet.

Fairfax media reported that Griffiths responded to the man after he swore first, and the argument escalated to the point where cabin staff became involved.

Griffiths was charged under Singapore’s laws against an “outrage of modesty”, which can include the use of coarse language and men behaving inappropriately towards women.

The laws apply to acts committed not only in Singapore, but also on Singapore-owned and registered airlines. The Australian Foreign Affairs Department even warns about the penalties of being convicted of the crimes: two years’ jail, fines, caning or a combination.

If convicted, Griffiths could be subjected to 24 lashes with a rattan cane 1.2 metres long and 1.3cm thick, The West Australian reported.

“Tiger Airways has a zero tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour on board our aircraft,” a Tiger Airways spokeswoman said, according to Fairfax media. “Safety and security of staff and passengers underpins the operation at all times and is something we will not compromise.”