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Monday, January 23, 2006

Transsexual drug dealer spared the cane

planetout.com

SINGAPORE -- A court has spared a Thai transsexual drug dealer from caning because Singaporean law does not allow women to be sentenced to that punishment, a newspaper reported Friday.

Thai prostitute Mongkon Pusuwan, who underwent a sex change from male to female a decade ago, was instead sentenced on Wednesday to six years in jail after a medical report concluded that she was a woman, The Straits Times reported.

District Judge Bala Reddy handed down the sentence after the long-haired Mongkon, 37, pleaded guilty to charges including trafficking in cocaine and tablets containing ketamine, the report said.

The amount of drugs in her possession was too small for her to qualify for Singapore's mandatory death penalty for some drug cases.

Mongkon, whose passport identified her as a male, was arrested in December.

Men who commit similar crimes can be sentenced to caning. Offenders are strapped to a wooden frame and lashed across the bare buttocks with a rattan rod.

The punishment drew international attention in 1994 when American teenager Michael Fay was caned for spray-painting cars, despite objections from then-U.S. President Bill Clinton.

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