Ex-NTUC chairman Phey Yew Kok 'ashamed and sorry' as court jails him for 5 years

Ex-NTUC chairman Phey Yew Kok 'ashamed and sorry' as court jails him for 5 years
Former NTUC chairman and ex-MP Phey Yew Kok, 81, was sentenced to 60 months in jail on Friday (Jan22).
PHOTO: Singapore Police Force

After 36 years on the run, former NTUC chairman and ex-Member of Parliament Phey Yew Kok has been sentenced to five years jail, with effect from date of his remand, Jun 23, 2015, The Straits Times reported.

Just hours before the sentencing, Phey pleaded guilty to misappropriating more than $240,000.

In court on Friday (Jan 22), the 81-year-old who is now completely blind in his right eye, pleaded guilty to 12 of the 34 charges he faces.

Clad in a white T-shirt and a pair of khaki pants, the silver-haired Phey pleaded guilty to 10 charges related to criminal breach of trust, one charge of abetting the fabrication of false evidence to a public servant and one charge of failing to attend court when ordered to by a judicial officer, The Straits Times reported.

The remaining 22 charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Speaking to the Straits Times, Phey's lawyer SC Chelva Rajah said that the former union boss is "ashamed and sorry" to let down the union movement, which he was wholeheartedly committed to.

Mr Rajah added that Phey "suffered great hardship" during his 35 years on the run.

The disgraced powerful union leader was charged with corruption more than 35 years ago, and absconded by train to Kuala Lumpur on New Year's Eve in 1979.

In doing so, he jumped bail, causing his two bailors to forfeit $95,000 of the $100,000 they put up.

Despite having an Interpol Red Notice issued against him, Phey managed to lie under the radar all these years, until he surrendered at the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok last June.

Phey, who was MP for the Boon Teck Constituency for eight years from 1972 to 1980, is accused of misappropriating funds belonging to multiple unions and companies, Channel NewsAsia reported.

In a statement on Friday, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) reiterated that Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and criminal activities.

"There is no statute of limitations for corruption charges and CPIB will not hestiate to take action against any individuals and parties involved, even if the offence was committed a long time ago," the anti-graft body said.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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