Convicted drug offender may avoid death penalty

Convicted drug offender may avoid death penalty
SHOWING SUPPORT: (Above) Ms Yong Vui Fung and her family members at the Istana in 2010. They were submitting a petition to then-president S R Nathan to spare her brother's (Yong Vui Kong) life.

SINGAPORE - Twist after twist.

That is how one could describe the situation concerning convicted drug offender Yong Vui Kong, 24.

He was sentenced to hang in 2008. He got a stay of execution in 2009, but was still on death row.

Now there is a chance he may avoid the death penalty altogether.

On Wednesday, Yong received a certificate of substantive assistance due to his help in disrupting drug trafficking activities within and outside Singapore.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General's Chambers said if Yong is able to prove to the court that they were traffickers who only played the role of couriers, the prosecution will be leaving the sentence to the court's discretion.

This was the first time such certificates were issued to a convicted drug offender awaiting capital punishment. (See report below.)

For Yong's family, the case has been an emotional roller coaster.

It began more than six years ago, with Yong's arrest in 2007.

After his arrest, his younger sister, Ms Yong Vui Fung, 23, prayed and shed tears every time she thought of her brother, but her efforts went unanswered.

Resigned to her brother's fate, she and her family came to Singapore in 2009 to bid him goodbye.

He was to hang on Dec 4.

She told The New Paper: "I expected to take his remains home to Sabah."

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