Death row inmate ‘needs a second chance’
By ucanews.com reporter, Kuala Lumpur; Published Date: August 19, 2010
A young Malaysian man sentenced to death in Singapore for drug trafficking should be given a second chance, say Catholics.
Yong Vui Kong “was an innocent young boy when he committed the offence,” said Francis Tan, executive secretary of Sandakan diocese in Malaysia’s Sabah state. “Moreover, he has
repented … in jail and is a changed person. He should be given another chance.”
Twenty-two-year-old Yong was arrested in Singapore for drug possession on June 13, 2007. He was later convicted of trafficking in 47 grams of heroin and sentenced to death.
An online campaign to collect 100,000 signatures is underway to plead for clemency from the Singapore president. A written signature campaign is also being carried out in Sandakan, Yong’s home town.
If the Singapore authorities remain unmoved by these last-resort appeals, Yong could be executed any day after Aug. 26, the last day to file for clemency.
Yong is “a victim of social injustice,” says Sylvia Mary Sebastian, a Catholic social worker from Sabah. “He was very poor. He had little education. Someone took advantage of Yong’s
ignorance with promises of riches … How is justice served by hanging Yong and others like him?”
Retired Catholic lawyer Lobo Joseph D’Cruz agrees. “It is cruel, it violates the right to life. I don’t see justice being served by hanging anyone, especially a young man.”
Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also submitted an appeal for clemency to the Singapore government, the first time it had done so in such a case.
Yong, who comes from a broken family, grew up in poverty in a rural area outside Sandakan. He went to Kuala Lumpur when he was in his early teens to look for work and ended up doing odd jobs on the streets. He later got involved with secret societies and became a drug smuggler.
Time is running out for death row Vui Kong
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 17:53 (Malaysian Mirror)
SANDAKAN – Time is running out to gather 100,000 signatures in a petition to save Vui Kong from being hanged while the 22-year-old mother falls into depression.
The online petition “Give Yong Vui Kong a Second Chance to Help Singapore’s Anti-Drug Trafficking Policy” campaign has so far managed to gather only 21,359 signatures as of Wednesday, Aug. 18.
Vui Kong still needs to draw more support from people within the next four days in order to be given a second chance to compensate his wrongdoings to the society.
The final date for Vui Kong to plea for clemency is Aug. 26 which will be the final solution before he is brought to face the capital punishment.
The campaign hopes to gather 100,000 by Aug 22, allowing enough time for filling before presenting it to His Excellency, Singapore President Sellapan Ramanathan, on Aug. 26.
His mother, Liaw Yueng Kuan, 55, was reported to be suffering from depression and her family members are worried that her son’s predicament will worsen her condition.
The mother of seven and two daughters – Yuk Ying, 32 and Vui Fung, 20 – has contacted Foreign Minister Anifah Aman on Tuesday at Wisma Putra, The Star reported.
Anifah Aman said the government did the best they could and submitted a letter to appeal for clemency hoping it would be taken into consideration.
If this fails, the young man will be executed at any time.
Meanwhile, Yong Kwong Keong, father of Vui Kong, has lodged a police report Wednesday after he received an SMS from a man who identified himself as a senior Wisma Putra Officer claiming he can help to arrange for the release of Vui Kong if provided RM8,000.
According to The Star, the SMS received on last Friday was later confirmed a scam after the Foreign Ministry said there was no record of the man working in Wisma Putra.
Vui Kong was 18 years old when he was arrested on June 13, 2007, at Orchard Road in Singapore for possessing two packets of drug.
He was subsequently charged under Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185) and last year he was convicted and sentenced to death.