Hong Kong Boy Released From Jail After Caning -- Accused Of Vandalism, Teen Spent Months In Jail

SINGAPORE - A Hong Kong teenager who was flogged in the vandalism case involving American Michael Fay was released today after serving six months in prison.

Wearing a cap and red T-shirt, Shiu Chi Ho walked briskly out of Queenstown prison with his smiling parents. They drove away without speaking to reporters.

Shiu, 17, received little public attention in the controversy surrounding Fay's flogging, but Singapore's prime minister used his case last month to denounce Western family values.

Shiu received six lashes of a rattan cane on June 23. He was accused along with Fay and six other foreign youths of spray-painting cars and other vandalism last September.

Like Fay, he proclaimed his innocence and said police bullied him into confessing.

After an appeal for mercy to President Ong Teng Cheong, Shiu's sentence was reduced from 12 strokes of the cane to six and the jail term from eight months to six.

On Aug. 21, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong praised Shiu's parents for their sense of embarrassment and shame at their son's action, contrasting it with the outrage expressed by Fay's family.

Fay served 83 days in prison and was lashed four times with a rattan cane after Singapore rejected appeals for clemency. He returned to the United States in June.

Fay's parents blamed "everyone except themselves," Goh said in a speech that belittled Western values and praised Asian tradition, especially Chinese Confucian ethics.

Shiu's father, Shiu Chung On, is a Chinese drama director for state-controlled Singapore television. He and his wife were reported to be so embarrassed by their son's conviction that at one point they considered leaving Singapore, their home since 1983.

But Lee Kwan Yew, the powerful former prime minister, wrote to them in July, saying the government has no grudge against them and that they were welcome to stay.