ABC’s Delhi-based correspondent held on drug charges in Singapore (Second Lead, superseding earlier story)

July 18th, 2008 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, July 18 (IANS) Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Delhi-based South Asia correspondent Peter Lloyd was arrested in Singapore on charges of trafficking and possession of drug ‘ice’ and faces up to 20 years in jail and 15 lashes from the cane, according to a Singapore court document released Friday. Lloyd, 41, was charged with supplying about one gram of the drug crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride - known by its street name ‘ice’ - to a 31-year-old Singaporean man for Singapore $100 at a hotel early July.

Lloyd was arrested Thursday night after he was named as a supplier by the Singaporean man, who too was arrested for possessing the drug, according to ABC.

Lloyd was also charged with allegedly being in possession of 0.8 gram of the ‘ice’, a smoking pipe and six syringes when he was arrested from Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). His urine tested positive for amphetamines.

“The Australian national was arrested and in the course of follow-up search, the officers recovered a packet of ‘ice’ weighing approximately 0.8 gram, one improvised smoking pipe and six syringes,” a CNB spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith Friday told reporters in Sydney that he will take up Lloyd’s case with the Australian High Commissioner when he visits Singapore next week for ASEAN meeting.

“I’ll be in a position to speak first hand to the high commissioner and ensure personally that anything we can do when it comes to consular assistance is done for Mr Lloyd and his family,” Smith told reporters here.

The ABC confirmed Friday that it has sent a barrister to Singapore to represent Lloyd.

ABC News director John Cameron said in a statement: “Peter was in Singapore on leave from his posting in New Delhi. The ABC has not been told of the full details of the case, but we were aware that Peter had been undergoing hospital treatment in Singapore for a serious eye condition which he contracted while on leave.”

“The ABC is in close contact with consular officials and is also taking steps to ensure Peter is given appropriate legal representation,” Cameron said.

Singapore imposes some of the most severe penalties for drug use and possession, including a mandatory death penalty for some drug offences.

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

The respected foreign correspondent, who has also worked for the BBC and British Sky News in London, was appointed to the ABC’s South Asia bureau in mid-2002. He became the South Asia bureau chief based in New Delhi in 2006.

The award-winning journalist was expected to return to Australia to host ABC’s new breakfast show beginning this September.

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