Yong Vui Kong is still alive, 15 years after a last-minute appeal saved him from hanging

SINGAPORE – Yong Vui Kong is alive and well, although still imprisoned, as he marks 15 years since a last-minute appeal saved his life from hanging.

Vui Kong’s story was highly publicized after he was arrested for possession of 47.27 grams of heroin. This happened in 2007, when the Malaysian was only 19 years old.

He received the death penalty and his judicial execution was scheduled for December 2, 2009.

However, two days before that date, his case was taken up by human rights lawyer M. Ravi, who managed to obtain a stay of execution.

Read more: My journey with Vui Kong: M Ravi

Thus began a battle of almost four years. Unlike the vast majority of death penalty cases, Vui Kong’s death sentence was lifted on November 14, 2013.

His sentence was reduced to life imprisonment and caning, and there is a possibility that he could be released on parole after serving 20 years in prison.

Vui Kong, now 36, has been in Changi Prison since June 12, 2007, meaning he has spent almost half his life in prison and will be eligible for a parole hearing in June 2027.

However, by all indications, he is no longer the rebel he had been in his youth. He is now a devout Buddhist and has said that he wanted to advise young people about drugs during his incarceration.

Who is Yong Vui Kong?

Growing up in a poor family in Sabah, with only his mother supporting him and his siblings, Yong Vui Kong moved to Kuala Lumpur when he was just 14 years old.

He was forced to fend for himself and quickly fell in with the wrong crowd, ending up delivering “gifts,” which turned out to be drugs.

He subsequently traveled back and forth between Malaysia and Singapore with these “gifts” until he was captured by Singapore authorities in 2007.

According to the law, his crime should have earned him the death penalty. Due to his age, Judge Choo Han Teck, the judge at his trial, asked the prosecution to consider reducing the charge, which was rejected.

Since Vui Kong asked his original lawyer to withdraw his appeal, when M Ravi took up his case, he requested that the appeal be reinstated, which the Court of Appeal later did.

During the years that Ravi filed several applications on Yong’s behalf, there were changes to Singapore’s mandatory death penalty laws.

In mid-2012, the government agreed to allow prisoners sentenced to death for drug trafficking and murder offenses to request that their sentences be reduced to life imprisonment, especially for those who could prove that they had only been drug couriers, had liability issues. mentally, or could help officials in the fight against drugs.

Vui Kong, who had been a courier who helped authorities in their anti-trafficking efforts, was the first drug trafficker sentenced to death whose sentence was reduced to life in prison and lashing. /ITSG

Also read: Drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong escapes death

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