19 Jul 2008

Journalist accused of drug trafficking in Singapore

8:00 am on 19 July 2008

A correspondent for Australia's ABC news has been charged with drug trafficking and possession in Singapore.

Peter LLoyd, the South Asia correspondent for the past six years, was arrested on Friday night after being named as a supplier of the methamphetamine by a Singaporean man who was also arrested for possession of the drug "ice", the ABC website reports.

It is alleged Mr Lloyd sold the man about a gram of the drug earlier in July.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Lloyd, 41, was found in possession of the drug at a hospital and was arrested after a subsequent search uncovered 0.8 of a gram of the drug ice, six syringes and a smoking pipe and a urine test confirmed he had traces of amphetamines in his system.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says consular officials have ensured that Mr Lloyd has received legal representation. The ABC confirmed that it has sent a barrister to Singapore to represent Mr Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd is accused of trafficking a class A drug in one of the world's most ruthlessly efficient drug enforcement regimes.

Trafficking a controlled drug in Singapore attracts a prison term of anywhere between five and 20 years and between five and 15 strokes of the cane.

It is dangerous in Singapore to even be in the company of drug users.

In recent years the number of arrested drug offenders in Singapore has been between 3,000 and 4,000 annually, out of a population of 2.6 million people and in recent months authorities have increased the use of undercover tactics in an attempt to net more drug offenders.