Akha Woman in Singapore Prison Case Goes to Singapore Supreme Court

From Akha Heritage Foundation

Ms. Meitinee Wongsa, an Akha woman from Thailand, was trafficked into Singapore. She was sent out of the country without due process and when she returned legally she was arrested. Now her case goes to the Singapore Supreme Court. Activism Works.

Ms. Meitinee Wongsa, an Akha woman from Chiangrai province in Thailand, was trafficked to Singapore under cloudy circumstances. She was quietly sent out of Singapore without due process when she didn’t “work out”.

Later when she chose to marry a man from Singapore, and set a date for marriage and returned to Singapore, the Immigration of Singapore arrested her and sentenced her to one year in prison for illegal entry.

Her fiance fought for her defense, and it was determined that highly irregular events happened in the handling of her case. How was she sent out of Singapore the first time with no arrest? Who signed what papers? Who was the translator? Why did they make her sign papers which said her real name was not in fact her real name? Why is there no record of her “arrest” with Singapore Immigration?

Now all of this is coming to light, and her case has been admitted by the Singapore Supreme Court.

In a day or two it will be listed on this site:
Supreme Court” under “Criminal Revisions”.

This case has been very important to the freedom of Ms. Wongsa who is now in Portdown prison for many months.

It is also important because the Thai Embassy has had to admit she is there and confirm that she is a Thai citizen, which they did not want to do, (first they said her passport is false) and that her Identity card and passport are genuine. In the past Thailand has disowned Akha women trafficked to places like Japan.

You can contact the Singapore Consul in San Francisco to ask them about this case and for the immediate release of Ms. Wongsa. Her prison number is S12369.

Singapore Consul
595 Market Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Email: singcg_sfo@sgmfa.gov.sg
Tel: (415) 543-4775
Fax: (415) 543-4788

Singapore citizens who need emergency consular assistance can call: (415) 595-4346
Use the last number, they actually answer the phone.

This case is also important in that it gives lots of light to how the Akha are treated, and the trafficking of Akha women by the Thais. The brothel owner in Hatyai has not been arrested at this time.

NGO’s in Thailand have proved nearly totally useless in getting one of “their own” arrested for a crime.

Thank you for supporting Akha Human Rights.

We hope that her case is overturned and that she is released and allowed to marry and stay in Singapore as a FREE Akha woman.

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Related Links:
Why Does Singapore Imprison the Victims of Trafficking? 3
Why Does Singapore Imprison the Victims of Trafficking? 2
Why Does Singapore Imprison the Victims of Trafficking? 1

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A relationship built on sand

Below are extracts from an article by Bill Guerin who has managed to take a step back from Singapore’s and in particluar Temasek’s ongoing financial dealings with its neighbours. The Peoples Action Party has often stated that no opposition party would be capable of running the economy and financial investments as well as they have been doing for the last thirty plus years. The rise to economic dominance in South East Asia was a majestic climb but now that the Peoples Action Party has reached a plateux they seem to be incapable of investing in their neighbours without causing a political stink. So just how great a job have the PAP been doing over the last few years.

JAKARTA – Singapore’s aggressive regional investment strategy has already taken bilateral relations with Thailand to an all-time low, but a rising tide of economic nationalism and unresolved extradition issues with neighboring Indonesia potentially represents a more crucial test for the island state’s economic diplomacy. […]

The Peoples Action Party will of course point the finger of blame not at their own party but that of the allegedly independent Temasek in order to defuse allegations that they are somehow mismanaging investments. This seems to be the current line of response in the Thaksin Shin Corp deal, but with the land-reclamation programme and its need for sand imported from Indonesia, such a defence is redundant. I am in no way buying the party line that Temasek is a separate ‘business entity’, but in this particular case the Peoples Action Party have less of a ‘deniabililty’ position to fall back on. The land reclamation project is an initiative undertaken and promoted by the Singaporean government. The Indonesian government has banned such sand exports to Singapore as leverage in negotiations over a planned extradition treaty.

Controversy over Singapore’s land-reclamation projects, which entail huge imports of foreign sand and soil, represent the latest spat in a historically prickly bilateral relationship – one that is coming under increasing strain that threatens Singapore’s Indonesia-based investments. […]

The two sides have been negotiating the issue [extradition treaty]on and off for more than three decades, although the issue became particularly heated after the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, when a number of ethnic-Chinese Indonesian businessmen absconded with huge amounts of cash they allegedly illegally deposited in Singaporean bank accounts.

Singapore’s drive to be the Switzerland of South East Asia is built on the very premise that the accounts are easy to set up and the money placed in them is done so on a ‘no-questions-asked’ basis. Of course it attracts money gained through corruption or other questionable means. That’s the whole point of running a ‘Switzerland’ style banking system. The problem for Singapore and the People’s Action Party is that in doing it with money in South East Asia which has such a wide and visible lack of social equality it is ‘theft’. According to Andy Xie “Actually, Singapore‚Äôs success came mainly from being the money laundering center for corrupt Indonesian businessmen and government officials.” So until the extradition treaty is drawn up and it includes provisions to include economic crime the situation and antagonism between the two nations will remain.

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