18 May 2020 :
A Malaysian debt collector, who was implicated by two drug couriers as the mastermind behind a heroin transaction, was sentenced to hang in Singapore on 15 May 2020.
Punithan Genasan, 37, is the first person in Singapore to be handed the death penalty via remote hearing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He was found to be complicit in trafficking at least 28.5g of heroin by introducing the two couriers to each other in 2011 and instructing one to drive into Singapore to meet the other.
He left Singapore on the day he introduced the duo - Malaysian V. Shanmugam Veloo and Singaporean Mohd Suief Ismail - and was eventually extradited to Singapore on 21 January 2016, five days after he was arrested in Malaysia.
Punithan denied any connection to the pair and disputed their testimonies that he had recruited them to transport drugs, linked them up and arranged the transaction.
He called a friend and his wife as witnesses to support his claim.
But his alibi defence was rejected by High Court judge Chan Seng Onn, who pronounced the mandatory death penalty in a hearing on video-conferencing platform Zoom.
Justice Chan said the couriers had given detailed and cogent accounts of their relationships with Punithan. In contrast, Punithan was unable to explain how the couriers knew personal details about him. The couriers were convicted in 2015. Shanmugam, then 30, was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane while Suief, then 46, was sentenced to death.