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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs