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After global campaign, Singapore opens investigation into American engineer's death

Shane Todd's family suggested that police originally botched the case.

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Rick Todd and his wife Mary talk to reporters outside the Subordinate courts in Singapore on May 13, 2013. Singapore launched a public inquiry into the death of a Shane Todd whose family believes he was murdered because of a high-tech project for a Chinese firm that has been suspected of espionage. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

HONG KONG — This week, Singapore opened a public inquiry into the death of Shane Todd, the 31-year-old American engineer found hanging in his Singapore apartment last June.

Todd's family has long suggested that the Singapore police botched the case, or engaged in a cover-up, after they discovered a hard drive in his apartment that tied his work to Huawei, the shady Chinese telecom firm that has rumored connections to the People's Liberation Army. 

It should be a fascinating inquiry. Singapore's been under heavy pressure since the Financial Times ran a long, chilling blockbuster story airing the Todd family's claims in February. 

Singapore is expected to argue that Todd was depressed and suicidal.

At Monday's hearing, the senior state counsel said that police had found "no signs of foul play" in Todd's flat, and read one of the alleged suicide notes left on the computer. This one was addressed to his mother and father. 

"As you know, I have been going through a difficult time and I am facing problems that I don’t know how to solve," it read.

“I just know how much of a burden I will be to you in the future so I feel it is better to do this now rather than wait until I have caused more damage.”   

When Todd's parents were presented with this note by the Singapore police shortly after his death, Mrs. Todd responded, "My son might have killed himself, but he did not write this." 

The inquiry will last until the end of May.

More from GlobalPost: Why is US Congress afraid of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/130513/singapore-shane-todd