Cane looms for Aussie swear accused in Singapore

An Australian man faces severe penalties in Singapore - including a caning - for allegedly swearing during an argument on board a Tiger Airways plane earlier this month.

The incident occurred on January 3 on board an overnight flight from Perth to Singapore; when the plane landed, the man was arrested.

The West Australian has identified the man as 47-year-old maritime worker Bruce Griffiths.

Quoting a colleague of Mr Griffiths who did not want to be named, the newspaper said the argument broke out when Mr Griffiths got out of his middle seat to let a female passenger go the toilet.

This disturbed a male passenger in an aisle seat, who swore at Mr Griffiths. It is reported that he returned the abuse and the cabin crew became involved.

Singapore has tough laws against "outrage of modesty crimes", which include using coarse language, as well as men behaving inappropriately towards women. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns on its website that those convicted of such crimes face two years' jail, fines, caning or a combination of those punishments.

Outrage of modesty crimes can also apply on airplanes registered in Singapore and inbound Singapore-owned carriers.

Tiger Airways confirmed there was an incident on board the flight but could not comment further because it was under police investigation.

"Tiger Airways has a zero tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour on board our aircraft. Safety and security of staff and passengers underpins the operation at all times and is something we will not compromise," a spokeswoman said.

Tiger has also launched its own investigation into the incident.

A spokeswoman for the department said Australian High Commission officials in Singapore were providing consular assistance to a 47-year-old man from WA.

She said the department could not comment further.

The story Cane looms for Aussie swear accused in Singapore first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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