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New Law Requiring Death Penalty for Gun-Users Imposed for First Time

July 25, 1996

SINGAPORE (AP) _ A man who fired seven shots while robbing a jewelry shop has been sentenced to death, the first person convicted under a new law that imposes a mandatory death penalty for using a gun in Singapore.

Justice T.S. Sinnathuray rejected Lim Chwee Soon’s plea that he was of unsound mind and didn’t intend to fire his pistol during the robbery last October, the Straits Times reported today. A sales manager was shot and injured.

Lim, 29, stole four Rolex watches worth $57,000 before fleeing on a stolen motorcycle. He was arrested in Malaysia on Nov. 1 and extradited to Singapore. The robbery was taped by a security video camera.

Singapore has some of the strictest crime laws in the world. Offenses such as vandalism, sexual molestation and stealing are punished by flogging. The death penalty is mandatory for murder and drug smuggling.

Until November 1993, firing a gun during a crime was punishable by execution only if it was proven that the accused intended to cause physical injury. The law was amended to make death mandatory for using or trying to use a firearm. The intent to cause injury is presumed.

Lim was convicted on Wednesday after a six-day trial.

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