Former NTUC president faces charges after 35 years on the run

Former NTUC president faces charges after 35 years on the run
Phey Yew Kok, a former PAP MP who faces charges of criminal breach of trust and absconded in 1980.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Phey Yew Kok, a former president of the NTUC and PAP MP, has returned to Singapore to face charges of criminal breach of trust served to him in 1979.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said on Wednesday that Phey, who absconded on January 7, 1980, surrendered himself at the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok on Monday.

He was produced in court on Wednesday to face the charges that were served to him before he fled Singapore 35 years ago.

In 1979, Phey was charged with four counts of criminal breach of trust and other offences. He was released on $100,000 bail but failed to turn up in court on January 7, 1980. A warrant of arrest was subsequently issued against him on the same day.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement released on Wednesday that Phey's return will bring closure to the case.

He said: "He has been charged in court, and the law will have to take its course. This will bring closure to a long outstanding case involving a person who was holding public office as an MP and a senior union leader."

In a Facebook message posted on Wednesday night, PM Lee added that Singapore has maintained a clean and non-corrupt system because of a zero-tolerance for corruption.

"We will not allow any cover up, even when it is awkward or embarrassing for the Government," he said.

CPIB said in a statement that Phey will be required to assist CPIB in further investigations in relation to other offences he may have committed.

ljessica@sph.com.sg .

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