Yong Vui Kong: dead man waiting

Malaysiakini piece of thrash article has this to say on the case of Yong Vui Kong: "Singaporeans should reflect on the sort of society they live in and how their high standard of living can coexist with a primitive and pitiless justice system".

Primitive and pitiless justice system?! Well, there is no justice...just us.

Okay, where did I quote that from? A quick google, and hey, it's from Planetary, a wonderfully written piece of art by Warren Elis!

"You people came looking for a mystery. But there is none. There's just us."

"Did he say "Justice"?" "No. Just us."

Ah, but I digress. The thing this so-called 'primitive and pitiless justice system' has worked well in the past, present & without doubt, in the future. And justice is for sure, a constant. Not a variable. Why should it evolve to cater for the outcry from the other nation(s)?!

Malaysia will plead to spare the life of a drug trafficker who has been sentenced to death in Singapore, according to Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.

In May, Singapore's highest court rejected a death sentence appeal by Yong Vui Kong, who was 19 when he became a drug courier three years ago. He was convicted in 2008 of trafficking 47g of heroin.

The minister said Yong's lawyers will provide him with legal arguments on why his life should be spared.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it has yet to receive any request for clemency.

From Today, "M'sia to seek pardon for drug trafficker". (07/07/10)

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) said it has yet to receive any request for clemency from the Malaysian government regarding Malaysian drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong.

The MFA added it's aware of media reports on the issue.

Malaysian media, The Star Online, had cited a Malaysian Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying his ministry would write to Singapore to plead for clemency.

21-year-old Yong had smuggled 47 grammes of heroin in 2008.

He was sentenced to death in November last year and was to be hanged the following month.

But his lawyer successfully sought a stay of execution from the High Court.

Yong's appeal against the death penalty was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in May this year.

His fate now lies with President SR Nathan, who can also be appealed to for clemency.

From Channel NewsAsia, "S'pore yet to receive clemency appeal from M'sia regarding Yong Vui Kong". (06/07/10)

The Foreign Ministry will write to the Singapore government to plead for clemency for Sabahan Yong Vui Kong who was sentenced to death last year for drug trafficking.

“We sympathise with what had transpired and will do everything possible within our powers to solve the issue,” Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Yong, 22, was convicted on Jan 7 last year for trafficking in 47gm of diamorphine, a capital offence under the Singaporean Misuse of Drugs Act.

He was arrested on June 13, 2007.

Tian Chua (PKR – Batu) said he and his lawyers had given Anifah the case’s background.

Yong’s lawyer M. Ravi brought up his client’s plight at Parliament yesterday in a desperate attempt to seek help from the Malaysian Government to save him from execution.

Last year, Yong had filed a petition to the Singapore president for clemency but it was rejected on Dec 1.

From The Star, "Ministry to seek clemency for death row man in S’pore". (06/07/10)

Based on past experience, efforts to save Yong Vui Kong, who received the mandatory death sentence in Singapore for drug trafficking, face an almost impossible battle.

It is a case that absolutely screams out for compassion: a foolish, confused and handicapped youth ill-used by faceless drug kingpins. His appeal for clemency has already been rejected by the president of Singapore who ought to have used his office to mitigate the appallingly harsh law under which Yong was convicted despite the small amount of drugs he was found in possession of.

Singapore's Law Minister is reported to have said: 'Yong Vui Kong is young, but if we say, we let you go, what is the signal we are sending?' One might reply that it will signal there is still a shred of mercy left within the island's justice system.

And can the minister really be so unforgiving that commuting the sentence to life imprisonment is equated to 'letting you go?'

Perhaps the minister is alluding to the possibility that drug kingpins will be encouraged to use young persons as couriers if Yong is not executed. But this is to imagine that drug kingpins, contrary to everything we know about them, actually care about the fate of their mules.

To think that the island will be flooded with drugs if one less person is executed or the law made more discriminating is indeed a case of paranoid thinking. If the upbringing, decency and education of ordinary Singaporeans are to be so easily toppled by a few thoughtless drug mules, it is not a very strong society is it?

That fact that there have been a never ending series of executions for drug offences in Singapore shows clearly that, as a deterrent, their existing laws fail miserably. Studies show that would-be offenders are influenced more by their assessment of the chances of getting caught rather than by the harshness of the penalty if caught.

Young people especially are often not mature enough to make the correct judgement so it's no use telling them that they have been warned. Is it right for society to require them to forfeit their lives for a single act of rashness, greed or stupidity?

The present case recalls that of Nguyen Van Tuong, a young Australian hanged by the Singapore authorities in 2005 for heroin trafficking despite the strongest appeals for clemency made by the Australian prime minister, Australian federal and state parliaments, the Pope, the New Zealand PM, many others and a loud clamour from the Australian public.

Tragically, the doors of hope are likely to close upon Yong Vui Kong one by one. As the hangman prepares the ropes for yet another judicial murder of a hapless young man, Singaporeans should reflect on the sort of society they live in and how their high standard of living can coexist with a primitive and pitiless justice system.

The sad truth is that most of them would not even have heard of this case.

From MalaysiaKini, "Hangman's noose: All the doors will close on Yong". (22/06/10)


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