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11/15/2005

handcuff! an old mindset?

the thought of being handcuffed by the police or by anyone, is chilling. the deprivation of freedom and losing the ability to fend for oneself. a sense of helplessness. this issue has received some publicity recently after someone forgot to top up his petrol tank at the causeway. a criminal offence, yes. but the offence is non violent in nature. it could be an act of forgetfulness, or an attempt to cheat if one can get away with it to save a few dollars. and the culprit would surrender his identity card to be registered and can be expected to report to the police station or be served a summon to appear in court. would that be enough instead of handcuffing the offender and sending him by police car, escorted by policemen all the way to the police station? why is handcuffing an offender so necessary in a minor infringement of the law? can this practice be changed in view of the circumstances and the nature of the offence? i have seen young men, or boys, selling pirated vcds in makeshift stalls. they did not make any attempt to run when the police came. after taking down their particulars, they too were handcuffed. can the law be less harsh on such petty crime offenders who have no need to be violent or to runaway? they knew that they would be required to pay a fine and that's it. or maybe they did not want to pay the fine and be willing to spend a night in the cell. would there be a rethink on this practice of handcuffing minor offence violations? the law does not hang every criminal and neither does the law sentence everyone to imprisonment.

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