IN RELATION TO THE UNFAIR TREATMENT RECEIVED BY MR YONG VUI KONG
To: Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Dato Seri Anifah Hj Aman
Date: 26 March 2012
Mr Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysia citizen who has been convicted of trafficking in 47.27 gram of diamorphine under s5(1) (a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2001 Rev Ed) and sentenced to death in Singapore, has recently filed an application in the Supreme Court, claiming that the prosecution in exercising its discretionary power to prosecute, had, prima facie, acted discriminatory against Yong Vui Kong, thus violating his rights under Article 12 of the Singapore’s Constitution in relation to equal treatment.
The challenge is premised on the facts that the more culpable offender, that is mastermind, one Chia Choon Leng, was not prosecuted while the less culpable offender, that is the mule, Yong Vui Kong was charged and prosecuted for a capital offence.
The application was heard by the Supreme Court of Singapore on 14 March 2012 and further submission by counsel on 19 March 2012. The court reserved its decision to a further date.
Discrimination based on nationality
During the arguments and submission of the above application, it was revealed and undisputed that: –
- Chia Choon Leng is the mastermind of a drug syndicate and is the one handed the packet and gave instruction to Yong Vui Kong. He is not only involved in drug trafficking, but he actively recruits, instructs and supplies drugs to courier and was at the apex of an organized group that carefully planned and coordinated drug trafficking activities.
- Chia Choon Leng is a Singapore citizen, born in 1965.
- Chia Choon Leng was initially charged with 26 counts of offences, mainly of abetting and instigating drug trafficking activities, but all the charges were later withdrawn by the prosecution.
- 5 out of the 26 counts of offences were directly involving Yong Vui Kong.
- Chia Choon Leng is now detained under executive order without trial.
- Chia Choon Leng is not only directly involved in Yong Vui Kong’s offence, he is also the one giving drug to one Koh Bak Kiang.
- Koh Bak Kiang is a Singapore citizen, born in 1976. He was 26 years old when arrested.
- Koh Bak Kiang has on the same account charged and prosecuted for trafficking in not less than 14.99 grams of the drug (the statutory limit that triggers the mandatory death sentence is 15 grams).
- Koh Bak Kiang pleaded guilty and was sentence to imprisonment.
- Chia Choon Leng was again not prosecuted (charges withdrawn) for his involvement in Koh Bak Kiang’s case.
Based on the above facts, we gather that:-
- Both Chia Choon Leng and Koh Bak Kiang are Singapore citizen.
- Chia Choon Leng was not prosecuted (all charges against him withdrawn) and did not stand trial for his criminal enterprise.
- Koh Bak Kiang was charged with a couple of offences but each did not trigger the statutory limit of mandatory death sentence.
- Chia Choon Leng is now detained under the executive order while Koh Bak Kiang is serving jail terms.
On the other hand, Yong Vui Kong, who is a Malaysia citizen, was prosecuted with a capital offence. The culpability of Yong Vui Kong offence is less than that of Chia Choon Leng, or even Koh Bak Kiang, on the facts that Yong Vui Kong is merely a courier boy, who was only 19 years old when the act was committed.
In fact, the judge in Koh Bak Kiang’s case has identified that Koh played a very significant role but he took cognizance of Chia Choon Leng ‘s even role closer to the apex. Thus, in terms of hierarchy of culpability from courts records Chia Choon Leng is higher than Koh Bak Kiang. And Koh Bak Kiang is higher then Yong Vui Kong but Yong Vui Kong gets the most severe punishment for not knowing the legalities of prosecutorial discretion and the ultimate punishment of death meted out to him.
We feel that the prosecution, in exercising his discretion to prosecution Yong Vui Kong with the capital offence, while not prosecuting (charges withdrawn) Chia Choon Leng and prosecuting Koh Bak Kiang with a non-capital offence, even though all of them are in the same criminal enterprise, prima facie, shows that the prosecution has acted discriminatory against Yong Vui Kong based on nationality.
We feel that this is a serious breach of Yong Vui Kong’s rights to equal treatment under international human rights law and we urge the Malaysia government to take all necessary actions to protect its citizen, in particular, Yong Vui Kong, including bringing the matter to the International Court of Justice.
Submitted by : Save Vui Kong Campaign
To read the background information of this nationality discrimination case, click to download from here :BackgroundsInfo_VK_NationalityDiscrimination_26March2012