27 Nov 06
The mother of an executed Australian drug smuggler has not come to terms with her son’s hanging in Singapore almost one year ago, parliament has heard.
This Saturday marks one year since Melbourne salesman Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, became the first Australian executed in 19 years.
Nguyen was convicted and condemned to die after being arrested at Changi Airport in late 2002 with almost 400 grams of heroin in his possession.
He was hanged in Singapore on December 2, 2005, after multiple appeals for clemency failed.
Labor MP Anna Burke said she had met with Nguyen’s mother Kim, who still had not come to terms with her son’s death.
“She sees herself now as the victim of this crime, of this execution,” she told the House of Representatives.
“She does not like to leave her home, she does not like to interact with people.
“It is just such a tragic waste of human life.”
Ms Burke said Nguyen should have been punished severely, but not executed.
“His execution has served no purpose,” she said.
“Since his death we haven’t stopped the drug trafficking, we haven’t stopped people stupidly going there and trafficking drugs, we’ve now had more Australians caught up in foreign countries who now will be facing execution.”
She said a church memorial service would be held to mark the anniversary of Nguyen’s death.
Mum tells of anguish
Sunday Herald Sun
27 Nov 06
The mother of hanged drug courier Tuong Van Nguyen has told of the anguish she endured over her son’s execution.
And she lashed out at a system she believes punishes naive young couriers, rather than drug lords.
In a documentary about the hanging in Singapore, Kim Nguyen recalls the tender moments she shared with her son in the days before his death.
But she brands his drug trafficking attempt as “stupid”.
“He said ‘Mum, I love you’ and I said ‘I love you too’.
“He is gentle — he’s not like Khoa, noisy and rough,” she said, referring to Van’s twin brother.
Van was trying to repay Khoa’s drug debts with his ill-fated heroin run to Singapore in 2002. He was hanged last December.
“The people who have millions of money, they are the people who bring drugs . . . they never get killed,” Ms Nguyen said.
“He is just a stupid boy.”
The Nguyens’ battle is documented in Just Punishment, to air on the ABC on December 7.
Khoa cried as he recalled his pact with his brother.
“I made him three promises – to look after Mum, to be good to myself and others and to follow God,” he said.
In return, Van promised to sing and dance his way to the hangman’s noose – which he did.