News / Asia

Death of American Engineer in Singapore Raises Questions

Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.
x
Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.
Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.
Daniel Schearf
An inquiry in Singapore into the death of 31-year-old American engineer Shane Todd has revealed he suffered from depression and visited websites about suicide.  But his parents believe he was murdered because of a project he worked on to transfer sensitive military technology to a Chinese company in violation of United States laws.

Legal proceedings in Singapore continued for a second day Tuesday into the cause of Todd's death. His body was found hanging by a strap from the bathroom door at his residence in the city-state in June last year.
 
Singapore police concluded the death was a suicide. But Todd's parents, Mary and Rick, believe he was murdered because of work involving the illegal transfer of sensitive military technology to a Chinese company.  

In testimony Monday, police said there were no signs of forced entry at his residence.  They said suicide notes were found on his laptop as well as an Internet browsing history showing he visited websites detailing how to commit suicide.  

The inquiry also heard testimony from Todd's girlfriend confirming he suffered from depression and was on medication, though she said she doubted he would take his own life.

The parents have questioned the legitimacy of the suicide notes and the way police handled the investigation. They have also raised the possibility of a cover-up, which Singapore authorities deny.

They have enlisted the support of their two Montana U.S. senators and say they want the U.S. Congress to investigate.

Eugene Tan is an assistant professor of law at Singapore Management University.  He said the differing accounts of Todd's death could have larger implications.

"But certainly here, one hopes that the coroner's inquiry, will come up with a definitive description of what actually happened," said Tan. "And, I think there are international implications, because there could be implications for Singapore-U.S. bilateral relations.  But, on a larger level, there will be questions about the integrity of the Singapore legal system, particularly into investigations into this death of Dr. Shane Todd."

Todd's parents sent the Singapore autopsy report to a U.S. doctor who concluded bruises on the hands and neck indicated Todd fought for his life and was possibly choked to death.  

Singapore senior state counsel Tai Wei Shyong at the Monday inquiry said other U.S. doctors refuted that conclusion.  He outlined the testimony and evidence presented at first day of the hearing.

"First and foremost, the autopsy report, the Singapore autopsy report provided that the death was asphyxia due to hanging, there is a conflicting report that the next of kin have produced, have presented this to the court," said Tai Wei. "We hope very much that their expert, Doctor Adelstein, will be able to come to Singapore and give evidence."  

Todd's parents say their son was worried his work at the Singapore Institute of Micro-Electronics (IME), a government-linked research agency, could compromise U.S. security.  He quit the job at IME just two days before his death and was due to start a new job in the United States.

They say a hard drive recovered at Todd's residence contains evidence he worked on a project to transfer an advanced semiconductor material with military applications to Chinese company Huawei.

Huawei has been blocked from projects in Australia, and the U.S. Congress considers it a security risk for spying.

Huawei and IME deny having any projects that would violate U.S. regulations and say they only discussed commercial projects.

More than 60 witnesses are expected to give testimony and evidence for at least another week before a final ruling will be made on the cause of death.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid