Yong Vui Kong was 19 years old when arrested for drug trafficking and sentenced to death on 7 January 2009. He was barely over 18 at the time of his arrest on 13 June 2007. The Singapore prosecution did not consider whether its fair and just to hang a boy. Why?
| Yong Vui Kong was 19 years old when arrested for drug trafficking and sentenced to death on 7 January 2009. He was barely over 18 at the time of his arrest on 13 June 2007.|
The Singapore prosecution did not consider whether its fair and just to hang a boy. Why?
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as anyone who is below 18, and no state should punish a child with the death penalty. 7 January 2009 Before the trial judge, Justice Choo Han Teck passed judgment on Vui Kong's case, he had summoned the prosecution and defence into his chamber and asked the prosecution if they would consider reducing the charge given the young age of the offender. The prosecution declined.
A moratorium on the mandatory death penalty will provide the chance to re-examine both the purpose and effectiveness. Even across the causeway where the mandatory death penalty is currently in place, there are now calls for a re-think. Think Centre renews its long standing call on the Singapore Government to impose a moratorium on the death penalty.
The Court of Appeal has reserved judgement in the case of 23-year-old Malaysian Yong Vui Kong, who faces the death penalty for drug trafficking.
The hearing held on Monday, was presided by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, Justice Andrew Phang and Justice VK Rajah.
Vui Kong's counsel, M. Ravi, made an appeal for his client's execution to be stayed on the grounds that he had been denied a fair clemency process.
The lawyer also called for a judicial review of the clemency plea which was dismissed in May last year.
The reason being, Mr. Ravi argued in court that the process had been prejudiced by public statements made by Law Minister K Shanmugam and his ministry even before his client's clemency plea had been filed.
Yong was awaiting for the outcome of his clemency appeal which was made in March when the minister spoke publicly about his case on May 9., The comments were also reported by the mainstream media.
Mr Shanmugam had said, "We (would be) sending a signal to all drug barons out there: Just make sure to choose a victim who is young or a mother of a young child and use them as the people to carry the drugs into Singapore."
However, after more than 3 hours in court, the judges decided to reserve judgment. This means they will not make an immediate decision to consider the case further and will only notify when the judgement is ready to be delivered.
Over 20 people attended the open court hearing on Monday with criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan and British author, Alan Shadrake, among the audience.
In June 2007, Vui Kong, a native from Sabah, was arrested and subsequently charged with trafficking 47.27 grams of heroin under the Misuse of Drugs Act. He was then only 19-years-old.
While he was originally sentenced to death in Jan 2009, his lawyer M. Ravi managed to obtain a stay of execution for him.
Vui Kong's brother, Yong Yui Leong, 26, told Yahoo! Singapore, "The only hope for us now is for him to be saved. That is all we are asking for."
Sources and Relevant Links:
Fit-to-Post Yahoo! Singapore Court reserves judgment on Malaysian facing death penalty 17 January 2011
Think Centre Call for Moratorium on Death Penalty03 September 2010
Believe in Second Chance We Believe In Second Chances 17 January 2011
MalaysiaKini Must Yong Vui Kong die?03 August 2010
Think Centre & Today Yong Vui Kong - Appeal to commute sentence 04 December 2009
Think Centre Joint statement by SADPC and Think Centre on the Alan Shadrake's case 17 November 2010
Think Centre 10 October 2010 - World Day Against Death Penalty 11 October 2010
MalaysiaKini Vui Kong clemency deadline extended 26 August 2010
Death Penalty Project Public Prosecutor v Yong Vui Kong  SGHC 4