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Alan Shadrake and the Police State, Death Penalty, Rule 'by' Law in Singapore

Family of Yong Vui Kong take their pleas to the Istana as he faces imminent execution

Vui Kong’s clemency deadline has been extended. The Singapore Prison Service informed Vui Kong’s lawyer, M. Ravi, today of the extension. One day before the deadline, 26th August 2010. {Read TOC’s report Vui Kong given extension to file clemency, Shadrake’s trial postponed}

Media reports on what transpired yesterday. More photos here.

Photo: Damien Chng

Vui Kong’s family pleads at Istana
Andrew Loh, The Online Citizen, 24 Aug 2010

The family of Yong Vui Kong has been working hard these past two months – hitting the streets in both Singapore and Malaysia to collect signatures for a petition begging President SR Nathan to spare Vui Kong’s life.

Activists in Malaysia have rallied to their cause. By 10 am this morning, the campaign had collected a total of 109 346 signatures. Among those who signed were 44 Members of Parliament and 15 senators in Malaysia.

Vui Kong’s father and six siblings delivered the petition and signatures to the Istana earlier today. They were accompanied by Sabah MP Datuk Chua Soon Bui, some close relatives, as well as lawyers M Ravi and Ngeow Chow Ying.

The family was not able to hand the petition to guards at the front gates of the Istana and had to use an alternative entrance 15 minutes away. The group walked uphill, in the blazing heat to this other gate where they were met by Security Officer, Corporal Marcus Chong [picture, right]. He took the files of signatures and told the family, “You may leave now.”

Vui Kong’s father, Mr Yong Kwong Keong, had prepared a personal message for President Nathan. Corporal Chong was asked to help pass this on but declined to do so, instead asking repeatedly for the family to vacate the area.

Mr Yong broke down in tears and the family knelt down in front of the gates. They remained there for several minutes before guards ordered them to leave.

At a press conference held later, Mr Ravi expressed disappointment over how the Yong family was treated at the Istana . “We are also faced with the unfortunate circumstance that we have to go to the Istana,” he said, “even though the courts have said that the President has no power.”

Datuk Chua urged President Nathan and the Cabinet to give Vui Kong’s case due consideration before making a final decision. She also questioned a decision by prison authorities to deny her request to visit Vui Kong on Monday. The Online Citizen understands two of his aunts were also denied access, although a cousin was granted entry.

“I feel the authorities should be more human,” Datuk Chua said. “This case is a special case. We don’t know how long before [Vui Kong’s] life is terminated. The family members and I came here just to see Vui Kong. We feel this is not too much to ask.”

The deadline for Vui Kong to submit his clemency appeal to the President is Thursday, 26 August.

However, when handing down his decision on Mr Ravi’s application for a judicial review of the clemency process, Justice Steven Chong had “invited” the Singapore Prison Service to extend the stay of execution as he said he expected Mr Ravi to appeal his judgement.

Mr Ravi has requested confirmation of the extension from the Prison Service, however, as of Tuesday, 24 August, he has yet to receive a response.

Vui Kong was arrested in June, 2007. He was 18 and a half years old then. The Singapore courts subsequently sentenced him to death for trafficking 47g of heroin into Singapore. He was originally scheduled to hang on 4 December last year, but since then, his lawyer, M Ravi, has managed to obtain two stays of executions.

In the past few weeks, the Yong family, as well as campaigners in both Malaysia and Singapore have worked round the clock, organising public forums and collecting signatures online and on the streets, to appeal to President Nathan to spare Vui Kong’s life.

Several non-governmental organisations are backing the campaign. These include the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia, Amnesty International Malaysia, Lawyers For Liberty, Amnesty Hong Kong and the Singapore Anti-death Penalty Campaign.

The Malaysian government added its voice to the call for clemency when it sent a letter of appeal to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 29. The Singapore government however has yet to respond to the letter. A spokesman for the ministry told the media that “[the] letter of appeal has been referred to the legal authorities.”

The campaign to save Vui Kong does not end today. “We will continue to collect signatures until the President makes a decision,” said Ms Ngeow.

“As long as there’s time, even if there’s just one second left,” said Yun Leong, “we will all still work hard for Vui Kong.”

Members of the public who wish to sign the petition may do so online here.

Special thanks to Lynn Lee.

Photo: Damien Chng

Petition to spare trafficker’s life delivered to Istana
Zakir Hussain & Rachel Lin, Straits Times, 25 Aug 2010

Mr Yong Yun Leong, an older brother of convicted drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong, presenting part of the petition to a policeman at the Istana yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

A PETITION with a bundle of signatures gathered on the streets and online was delivered to the Istana yesterday morning, calling on President S R Nathan to spare the life of convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong.

It was presented by a group of 12 of Yong’s family members and supporters. Police officers from the Istana Security Unit received the petition outside the Istana’s Cavenagh Road entrance.

The group, which included the Member of Parliament for Yong’s constituency in Sabah, met at Plaza Singapura at 9am.

Most wore T-shirts with the words Give Life a Second Chance, the slogan for the Save Vui Kong Campaign.

At 10am, they walked to the Istana’s Cavenagh Road entrance, carrying a box, files and bundles of paper bearing 109,346 signatures.

These had been gathered over the past two months on the streets of Yong’s home state of Sabah, as well as in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and online.

There were 43,446 Sabahans who signed the petition; 32,719 in Peninsular Malaysia; and 331 in Singapore. The other 32,850 signatures were gathered online.

A dozen journalists and photographers from Singapore and Malaysian Chinese media were present outside the Istana.

After the petition was handed over at the Cavenagh Road entrance, Yong’s father, three brothers, three sisters and two relatives knelt in front of the security officers. The officers urged them to leave.

Yong’s parents divorced when he was a child and he was raised by his mother.

Speaking in Mandarin, Yong’s father, Mr Yong Kwong Keong, 59, said he hoped his son would get a second chance.

‘I wasn’t able to take care of him when he was young,’ he said.

The MP for Yong’s Tawau constituency, Datuk Chua Soon Bui, said she hoped the President and Cabinet would give the petition due consideration.

Yong’s case has attracted attention among human rights activists here and in Malaysia. Last month, the Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, together with human rights group Suaram, formed the Save Vui Kong Campaign.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman also sent a clemency plea to the Singapore Government last month.

Yong was convicted by the High Court in 2008 of trafficking in 47.27g of heroin and was sentenced to death. The Court of Appeal turned down his appeal in May, and he was given until tomorrow to file a plea for presidential clemency.

Yong’s lawyer M. Ravi also applied to the High Court to seek judicial review of the clemency process, arguing that the process by which the President grants pardons – on the advice of the Cabinet – is flawed. But the court dismissed the application on Aug 13, saying the power to pardon lies with the Cabinet and not the President.

But it invited the Prisons Department to extend the deadline for Yong’s clemency petition till after the Court of Appeal had reached its decision on the dismissal.

Mr Ravi has not heard from Prisons on the extension. He plans to appeal against the dismissal and has till Sept 12 to do so.

Photo: Damien Chng

Yong’s family petitions for clemency
by Ng Jing Yng, TODAY, 25 Aug 2010

SINGAPORE – The six Malaysian siblings were split up when their parents divorced two decades ago but they reunited yesterday in Singapore. They wanted to petition for their brother’s life.

The family of convicted drug mule Yong Vui Kong went to the Istana with about 109,000 signatures, canvassed online and on the streets, mostly from Malaysia, to appeal for clemency for Yong.

After submitting the petition to officials at the Istana’s Cavenagh Road entrance, they were asked to leave as the grounds were a gazetted area. But the family, including Yong’s 58-year-old father, knelt at the entrance for several minutes instead.

Vui Fong, the youngest child at 20, told reporters later: “I hope the President of Singapore will give my brother a second chance … at his age.”

Yong, 22, was convicted in 2008 for trafficking in 47 grams of heroin into Singapore. His clemency appeal against his execution expires tomorrow.

However, High Court Judge Steven Chong had invited the prison authorities to extend the deadline so that Yong could appeal against a Court ruling two weeks ago that the power to grant pardons rests with the Cabinet, not the President, under the Constitution.

Lawyer M Ravi said he would continue to fight Yong’s case. He has until Sept 12 to file the appeal.

On Monday, Yong’s family visited him in prison and said he was in high spirits. Fourth sibling Yun Leong, 26, said: “Until the very last minute, we won’t give up.”

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Family of Yong Vui Kong take their pleas to the Istana as he faces imminent execution

  1. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S CHAMBERS
    YONG VUI KONG V PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
    (CRIMINAL APPEAL 13 OF 2008)
    PRESS RELEASE

    1. The above-stated appeal was heard before the Court of Appeal this
    morning on 15 March 2010. This appeal arose out of the appellant’s
    trial and subsequent conviction in the High Court on a capital charge
    under s 5(1)(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed)
    (“MDA”) for the offence of trafficking in not less than 47.27 grams of
    diamorphine.

    2. This amount of diamorphine can be used to produce approximately
    4,566 straws of heroin, which is worth at least $136,980. The
    appellant also faced another eight charges which were stood down at
    the commencement of the trial.

    3. Upon his conviction, these eight charges were withdrawn pursuant to
    section 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68). These charges
    were as follows:

    No. Offence Date and Time of Offence

    1. Trafficking in controlled drugs by delivering 34 packets of a substance containing notless than 14.09 g of diamorphine to one
    ‘Reggie’, under section 5(1)(a) and punishable under section 33 of the MDA
    On 13 June 2007, at about 12.05 am, at the vicinity of Meritus
    Mandarin Hotel at Orchard Road,
    Singapore

    2. Trafficking in controlled drugs by transporting 1 packet of substance
    containing not less than 82.77 g of ketamine in motor car MBK 5317 from
    Yishun St 22 to the vicinity of Meritus Mandarin Hotel at Orchard Road, Singapore,
    under section 5(1)(a) and punishable under section 33 of the MDA
    From about 10.40 pm on 12 June 2007 to
    about 12.05 am on 13 June 2007

    3. Trafficking in controlled drugs by
    transporting 100 tablets containing 13.04g of N, a-dimethyl-3,4-(methylenedioxy)
    phenethylamine (ie ecstasy) in motor car MBK 5317 from Yishun St 22 to the vicinity of Meritus Mandarin Hotel at Orchard Road,
    Singapore, under section 5(1)(a) and punishable under section 33 of the MDA
    From about 10.40 pm on 12 June 2007 to
    about 12.05 am on 13 June 2007

    4. Trafficking in controlled drugs by transporting 1 packet of substance
    containing 19.28 g of methamphetamine (ie ‘ice’) in motor car MBK 5317 from Yishun St 22 to the vicinity of Meritus Mandarin
    Hotel at Orchard Road, Singapore, under section 5(1)(a) and punishable under section 33 of the MDA From about 10.40 pm on 12 June 2007 to
    about 12.05 am on 13 June 2007

    5. Trafficking in controlled drugs by delivering
    130 tablets containing 16.77 g of N, adimethyl- 3,4-
    (methylenedioxy)phenethylamine (ie ecstasy) to one ‘Reggie’, under section 5(1)(a) and punishable under section 33 of the MDA
    On 13 June 2007, at about 12.05 am, at the vicinity of Meritus
    Mandarin Hotel at Orchard Road,
    Singapore

    6. Trafficking in controlled drugs by delivering 3 packets of substance containing not less than 106.88 g of ketamine to Reggie, under section 5(1)(a) and punishable under section 33 of the MDA
    On 13 June 2007, at
    about 12.05 am, at the
    vicinity of Meritus
    Mandarin Hotel at
    Orchard Road,
    Singapore

    7. Trafficking in controlled drugs by delivering 1
    packet of substance containing 3.73 g of
    methamphetamine (ie ‘ice’) to Reggie,
    under section 5(1)(a) and punishable under
    section 33 of the MDA
    On 13 June 2007, at
    about 12.05 am, at the
    vicinity of Meritus
    Mandarin Hotel at
    Orchard Road,
    Singapore

    8. Trafficking in controlled drugs by delivering
    1500 tablets containing nimetazepam (ie
    Erimin) to Reggie, under section 5(1)(a) and
    punishable under section 33 of the MDA
    On 13 June 2007, at
    about 12.05 am, at the
    vicinity of Meritus
    Mandarin Hotel at
    Orchard Road,
    Singapore

    4. On 29 April 2009, the Applicant withdrew his appeal to the Court of
    Appeal and the sentence of death was affirmed. On 20 November
    2009, the President, after due consideration of the Applicant’s Petition
    for Clemency, and on the advice of the Cabinet, decided that the
    sentence should stand.

    5. On 8 December 2009, the Court of Appeal granted the Applicant’s
    application in Criminal Motion No. 41 of 2009 for an extension of time
    to pursue his appeal against conviction and sentence. This appeal
    (Criminal Appeal 13 of 2008) was fixed for hearing on 15 March 2010.

    6. At this appeal, the appellant argued :
    a. That the mandatory death penalty for trafficking in
    15g or more of diamorphine as prescribed under
    the Misuse of Drugs Act (‘MDA’) is void for
    inconsistency with Article 9 of the Constitution;
    and
    b. That the mandatory death penalty for trafficking in
    15g or more of diamorphine as prescribed under
    the MDA is void for inconsistency with Article 12(1)
    of the Constitution.

    7. The appellant also sought to adduce, by way of a criminal motion, the
    evidence of one Professor Jeffrey Fagan to put forth the contention
    that the mandatory nature of the death penalty has little deterrent
    effect in curbing homicides and drug offences.

    8. The arguments of the Attorney-General’s Chambers in respect of both
    the appeal and the criminal motion are enclosed herewith.

    innocent?i think not.

    Posted by henry | August 26, 2010, 08:20
  2. Dear Henry,

    Nobody said he was innocent of the crime. But hang him to death?? Wouldn’t a stiff prison sentence suffice. Unless one thinks a prison term is a walk in the park.

    He could also share his experiences with others: https://jacob69.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/video-lawyer-m-ravi-yong-vui-kong-is-the-best-anti-drug-example/

    Furthermore, isn’t it the height of hypocrisy for the Singapore Government to hang drug mules while tolerating and/or doing business with the Burmese junta and drug lords: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Global_Secrets_Lies/BurmaSingapore_Drugs.html

    Finally I strongly recommend you get hold of and read Alan Shadrake’s book: https://jacob69.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/singapore-government-bans-book-that-delves-into-its-use-of-the-death-penalty/

    Posted by Jacob 69er | August 26, 2010, 10:06

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: {Video} Yong Vui Kong’s family plead for his life « Jacob 69er - August 25, 2010

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