Custody battle: Lifetime entry ban for 2 foreigners

Custody battle: Lifetime entry ban for 2 foreigners

SINGAPORE - Two foreigners who smuggled a Mongolian woman into Singapore by yacht to snatch her two-year-old son from his paternal grandparents have been banned from entering Singapore for life.

Briton Adam Christopher Whittington, 38, and Australian Todd Allan Wilson, 39, were jailed last month for their roles in helping the woman, who is locked in a bitter divorce battle with the boy's father. She cannot be named to protect her son's identity.

The Ministry of Home Affairs declared the ban orders last week in the government gazette.

Confirming the ban, an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority spokesman said: "Foreign nationals who have committed offences in Singapore may be repatriated to their home countries and barred from re-entering Singapore. Singapore's approach with regard to the removal (of) or prohibition of entry for offenders is no different from other countries'."

It is unclear if the woman was also banned as the authorities do not typically discuss these cases.

She met her husband in Singapore in 2010. They married and moved to London a year later. The boy's father cannot return to Singapore as his passport was seized after his wife alleged he raped her.

Britain's High Court ordered the boy to be returned to London under his mother's care. But instead of executing the order via court channels, the woman hired Whittington and Wilson to help her enter Singapore illegally to take the boy by force.

Whittington is the managing director of Child Abduction Recovery International, which specialises in returning children to their parents for a fee. He hired Wilson's catamaran in Langkawi, Malaysia, and the trio sailed to Raffles Marina in Singapore under the cover of darkness on Aug 19.

Whittington then took a taxi with the woman to the condominium where the boy's grandparents lived and both tried to snatch the boy. He arm-locked the grandfather and hurt the grandmother in the process.

The trio were arrested and convicted last month. The woman and Wilson were jailed for 10 weeks each and were deported last week. Whittington is still serving a 16-week jail term. The boy is with his paternal grandparents.

The authorities are studying the incident in a review to beef up Singapore's coastal security.

tohyc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 13, 2014.
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