Singapore jails London-based woman for seaborne custody bid

Singapore jails London-based woman for seaborne custody bid
The boat that a London-based woman used to sneak her son into Singapore docked at Raffles Marina where the marina is not an authorised landing place between 5pm and 9am.

SINGAPORE - A Singapore court has sentenced a London-based woman to 10 weeks in jail for illegally entering the city-state by sea in a "vigilante's attempt" to take custody of her two-year-old son.

Court documents sent to AFP on Tuesday said the 30-year-old woman, who is in the middle of divorcing her Singaporean husband, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to an immigration offence.

The documents said she sneaked into Singapore with two male accomplices in the early hours of August 19 aboard a catamaran hired from neighbouring Malaysia to try to take her son back from his paternal grandparents.

Her name and nationality cannot be revealed due to a court gag order but court officials said she is London-based.

She was arrested with one of the two accomplices, Briton Adam Christopher Whittington, a managing director of Sweden-based Child Abduction Recovery International, at a downtown hotel.

They were involved in an altercation with the child's grandparents hours earlier after they tried to pry him away from them outside their apartment building.

The catamaran's master, Australian Todd Allan Wilson, was also arrested on board the vessel.

Court documents said the woman entered Singapore illegally because she feared being arrested upon arrival following police reports filed against her by her estranged husband, who was also unidentified.

The Straits Times newspaper said Tuesday the woman sought Whittington's help after a dispute over who should have custody of the child.

Britain's High Court had ordered the child to be returned to his mother in London, court documents said, while a Singapore family court in January issued an interim restraining order preventing her from taking him out of the city-state.

Prosecutors told the court the plan to take the child from his grandparents showed "complete disregard for Singapore's laws and a vigilante's attempt to subvert due process of a matter which is still before the Singapore Family Court".

The Straits Times said the boy is still under the custody of his grandparents in Singapore.

Whittington and Wilson have been sentenced to 16 and 10 weeks in jail respectively for illegal entry.

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