Friday News Flip 08 April 2016


Here’s one you don’t see every day: an ambassador charged with corruption. The Cambodian ambassador to South Korea was recalled by his home country and charged with embezzlement and abuse of office.


China has stepped up online censorship in the wake of the Panama papers, but the revelations themselves are unlikely to budge its current war on corruption.


A criminal law lecturer who also fights crime and gets accused of extra-judicial executions? It’s almost too odd to be true but the truth is stranger than fiction. So meet Rodrigo Duterte: Lawyer, criminal law doyen, part-time Judge Dredd, former Mayor and Presidential Candidate.


He is alleged to have run a death squad targeting violent gangs when he was mayor of Davao City, Phillipines. And just to add icing on the cake, Duterte’s accused one of his main opponents- Filipino Vice President Jenjomar Binyal- of running a family robbery enterprise.

Duterte’s understanding of the criminal law seems a little spotty though: he is reported to have defended his record by noting that even in other countries police are allowed to shoot a suspect if he refuses to surrender.

I don’t know which country he meant but the jurisdictions that I know of (Kenya and certain commonwealth states) certainly do not allow that. Refusing to surrender to police is not in itself an automatic death sentence- though at times, rogue officers in the Police Service behave as though such a rule exists. Kenyan law, for example, permits police use of force, including deadly force, if the officer believes life or property are in danger and such force is the only reasonable means to protect them  (based upon Penal Code s.17 and the Court of Appeal case of  Ahmed Mohammed Omar & 5 others v Republic [2014] eKLR).

It also allows the use of force against an escaping suspect or fleeing convict, having regard to the seriousness of the crime (Penal Code s.18). Furthermore, our criminal procedure law permits use of force during arrest but limits that force to what is ‘reasonable in the particular circumstances in which it was employed or was necessary for the apprehension of the offender’ (Criminal Procedure Code s.21(3)). And it is debatable whether deliberately killing a suspect could ever be termed reasonable force in apprehending him. You cannot arrest a dead man.

The reasons behind allowing use of force are social protection, necessity in preventing a greater harm as well as necessity in preventing escape from justice. So the use of force cannot be disproportionate to those aims. None of the rules above permit killing someone simply for refusing to surrender. In law enforcement, the guideline is ‘lethal force as a last resort’; because once that bullet leaves the chamber, you own the consequences- whether it hits the suspect, a fellow officer or an innocent bystander. So ‘Judge Dredd’ Duterte should calm his itchy trigger finger.

The Prosecutor in the Libor interest rate rigging case argues that such conduct is no different from stealing.


The use of an exceptional level of violence when robbing a terminally ill uncle was grounds for the UK Court of Appeal to enhance a robber’s sentence from 4 years to 9 years. I note this case only so as to compare it with Kenya where a similar violent robbery would ordinarily carry a mandatory death sentence. Such wide disparity with other countries in the treatment of robbery with violence is one of the reasons why Kenya passes more death sentences than any other East African country, yet it shies away from actually carrying out executions.


Some of those who allegedly laundered the $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s Federal Reserve Account have been summoned by the Filipino Department of . The allegation is that the suspects participated in the last leg of a convoluted laundering process mapped below:-

The FBI are also tracking the hackers who stole the SWIFT codes in the Bangladesh Bank heist.

Other audacious launderers in Miami were allegedly doing $1 million dollars a month in business. I don’t know whether they were stupid or inspired to use the names of fictional gangsters like Tony Montana and Vito Corleone in their transactions of drug money.

Certainly they were pretty aggressive- the alleged laundering operation spanned 17 countries on 5 continents. Among those for whom they reportedly laundered was the Houdini of the underworld Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Gúzman



Every crook wants to be me: Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972)


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