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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.”