Singapore

Maid suspected of Bedok murders will not be extradited

The maid arrested in connection with the Bedok double murder while she was on the run in Indonesia's Jambi province will not be handed over to Singapore, said the Indonesian national police (Polri). But Indonesian investigators will work with their counterparts from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to solve the crime, said a spokesman.

"The case will be handled by Polri in cooperation with the SPF, but the suspect Khasanah will not be sent to Singapore due to the principle of personaliteit," Inspector-General Setyo Wasisto said yesterday.

Personaliteit requires any Indonesian arrested in the country for a crime committed overseas to be processed in Indonesia instead of being sent to the jurisdiction where the offence took place, explained the spokesman.

This means the fate of Khasanah, who is being held by the West Tanjung Jabung regency police in Jambi, now lies in the hands of local investigators who will decide if there is sufficient evidence to charge her for the Bedok murders.

They will also need a green-light from Indonesia's state prosecutors before the case can be heard in an Indonesian court.

Singapore police, responding to queries from The Straits Times, said they were aware of Khasanah's arrest.

"We are currently working with the Indonesian authorities to facilitate our investigations into the murder case," said an SPF spokesman yesterday.

Khasanah was on the run for almost a week after her employers, Mr Chia Ngim Fong, 79, and his wife Chin Sek Fah, 78, were found tied up and later pronounced dead in their Bedok flat. She was arrested on Tuesday night.

The 41-year-old was spotted using a computer at an Internet cafe to browse for online news about the double murder.

A hotel manager told Shin Min Daily News yesterday that Khasanah had paid repeated visits to the Internet cafe during her stay and had plans to travel to Java.

It is not clear if she will return to Singapore to face charges for killing the elderly couple.

Indonesia and Singapore had signed an extradition treaty as part of a package, which included a Defence Cooperation Agreement, in April 2007.

But both agreements are still pending ratification by Indonesia's parliament.

The two countries, however, are party to the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Treaty Amongst Like-minded Asean Member States.

Under the MLA, one country can gain access to interrogate suspects detained in the partner country, as well as gather evidence and seize criminals' assets. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said previously that Singapore has provided assistance to Indonesia on its MLA requests.

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