Slavery suspect was once a S'porean

Slavery suspect was once a S'porean

The 73-year-old man accused of holding three women as domestic slaves in London for 30 years, in an ongoing criminal case that has shocked Britain, was once a Singapore citizen.

But Aravindan Balakrishnan, who is reported to have been leading a Maoist "cult" which brainwashed the women, had his Singapore citizenship - which was registered in 1960 - revoked in 1977 when he was already living in London.

At the time, Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs accused him of engaging in "activities which are prejudicial to the security" of the country, after lawyer G. Raman named him as a radical "closely associated with Euro-communists".

Mr Raman, who was detained for a year under the Internal Security Act for communist activities, said he had met Balakrishnan, who graduated in economics here, when he went to London to sit his Bar examinations in 1966. Balakrishnan, who is believed to have come to Singapore from India, was then running the Maoist Workers' Institute there.

He and his wife Chanda, 67, reportedly of Tanzanian descent, were arrested last week after the women - a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish and a 30-year-old Briton - were rescued last month from the couple's home in South London.

British media reported that the police are also investigating claims that a 44-year-old woman named Sian Davies fell to her death from a window at one of the couple's addresses in 1997. According to The Daily Mail, she was the mother of the youngest slave who was rescued, Rosie Davies.

The Telegraph reported on Monday that retired teacher Kamar Mautum, who lives near Kuala Lumpur, believes the Malaysian captive is her sister Aishah. She said her sister moved to London with her fiance in 1968. But the family lost touch with her after she became part of an organisation called the Malaysian and Singaporean Students Forum, and came under the influence of "Comrade Bala".

The couple are now out on bail. Although it was reported that the women were occasionally allowed out on their own to run errands, they never thought of fleeing. Their captors allegedly threatened to beat them and had also convinced them that no one would look after them if they ran away.

On Monday, The Guardian reported that Balakrishnan was a senior member of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) in the early 1970s before splitting away in 1974 to form an even more hardline group called the Workers' Institute on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.

Chanda was also a leader of the group.

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