14 months prison for StanChart robbery suspect… but not for robbery

Jun 07, 2017 06.00PM |

WANTED for robbery, David James Roach may finally be serving time behind bars – but not for the reason one might expect. The suspect in the Standard Chartered bank robbery was sentenced to 14 months in prison for money laundering by a Thailand criminal court yesterday (June 6).

The 28-year-old Canadian was charged for failing to declare cash worth over US$20,000 to the customs – for which he was sentenced to a year in prison. He was sentenced to another year for money laundering and four months for violating the foreign exchange act. The sentences were to run consecutively.

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However, Roach’s sentence was halved because he confessed to those charges. And the Singapore robbery case continues to hang in balance. According to The Bangkok Post, Roach’s lawyer said that his client only confessed to money laundering, and not to the robbery.

Roach has till July 6 to appeal the Thai court’s decision. Meanwhile, he is being held in the Klong Prem Central Prison in Bangkok. He has been in prison for about a year.

It’s been nearly a year since the robbery and now the question is: Will Roach be extradited back to Singapore after his sentence? Thai authorities declined to extradite when they first arrested him.

On July 7 last year, Roach allegedly walked into a StanChart branch in Holland Village, handed the teller a piece of paper which reportedly said “This is a robbery, I have a weapon, give me money, don’t call the police”, and made off with over $30,000. 

On the same day, Roach fled to Bangkok, Thailand. Just two days later, on July 9, he was caught by the Royal Thai Police. But Singapore’s requests for assistance to extradite Roach were rejected by the Thai authorities, as the two countries do not have an extradition treaty. The Attorney General’s Office of Thailand commented that it was “not in a position to consider” extradition, without elaborating.

The Canadian government had then requested the Thai immigration police to deport Roach back to his home country. Singapore also does not have an extradition treaty with Canada.

If found guilty of robbery in a Singapore criminal court, Roach could face up to ten years jail and six strokes of the cane under Section 392 of the Penal Code. If found guilty of possessing a firearm or offensive weapon, he could be jailed for up to three years under the Arms Offences Act and Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act.

He’s now in for 14 months. Maybe that’s just the start of it.


Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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