To refute reports circulating in New Zealand it was a case of mistaken identity, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) confirmed the 58 year old British passport holder was indeed arrested on Jan 8 around 8.10 am at Changi airport:
"He was involved in a case of theft of a branded wallet that took place in a shop in Orchard Road in February 2014.
He was subsequently released at 5.30 pm on the same day. Upon the completion of investigations and in consultation with Attorney General's Chambers (AGC), he was administered with a conditional warning."
That kind of statement opens up a whole can of worms. After one whole year of investigations - from Feb 2014 to Jan 2015 - the SPF professionals must have compiled the evidence to prove the theft was authentic, and not just alleged. And then the swiftness of justice administered - nabbed at 9.10 am, freed at 5.30 pm - which happened to be "a conditioned warning". How come Singaporeans are not entitled to such privileged treatment? Three kids - aged 9 to 12 - were handcuffed in public for theft of some cheap sneakers. Age cannot be the consideration here, special deals for the pioneer generation notwithstanding. The 71 year old expressing his endorsement for a popular cause ("We support CPF blogger" and "Return our CPF money") by writing on bus-stops was sentenced to four weeks in jail. The financial impact of his criminal behavior? The Today newspaper said that MediaCorp had to spend about 100 Singapore dollars (some 80 U.S. dollars) to clean up the defaced advertisement boards. Maybe the branded wallet El-Gamel lifted was a cheap imitation after all.