Sex-Change Addict Escapes Caning

By Fionna Agomuoh 03/05/12

It's not easy to evade Singapore's draconian drug laws. But here's an idea...

A Cut Above Photo via

A drug addict in Singapore has been spared a punishment of caning under the regime's punitive drug laws—due to the fact that she has become a woman. Preeta Nivashani M. Rechnam received a sentence of five years and three strokes of the cane as a male back in 1998 for using morphine. In Singapore, a previous offense lines you up for an even harsher punishment of up to 13 years in prison and six to 12 strokes of the cane the next time you're caught using. A four-foot rattan cane, soaked in water and treated with antiseptic, is applied to the bare buttocks of unfortunate recipients. Rechnam was arrested on December 2 last year and found by urine tests to have used crystal meth and heroin. However, having undergone a sex change in 2006, she now identifies as a woman. That meant she was exempt from the cane, which is applied only to male offenders. (Her lawyers argued in court that it would be unlikely for a man to undergo a sex change just to avoid the caning punishment.) Rechman was sentenced on Monday to seven years and three months in prison for drug use—which in itself seems excessively severe.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Fionna Agomuoh.jpg

Fionna Agomuoh is a tech writer and product reviewer, as well as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fionna previously worked at several media companies, including Newsweek Media Group and Business Insider. Find her on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter.