From hangman's rope to hope

From hangman's rope to hope
SUPPORT: Mr Yong Yun Leong (above centre), a brother of drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong (far left), presenting a petition to a policeman at the Istana on August 24, 2010.

Dressed for death

Two days before he was due to hang, his siblings flew to Singapore from Sabah, Malaysia, with a heavy heart and a shopping bag full of new clothes.

Their mother was with them. But the woman, in her sixties, did not know about the clothes - or that her son was supposed to hang.

The clothes were for convicted Malaysian drug trafficker, 25-year-old Yong Vui Kong. He was to have been buried in the clothes.

His mother, elder brother and three sisters were hoping to see him one last time before he was to be hanged at Changi Prison.

They were prepared for the worst. They were convinced he would face the gallows on Dec 4, 2009.

Speaking in Malay to The New Paper on Thursday, elder brother Yong Yun Leong, 28, said that one of their sisters specially bought the items, including a T-shirt, jeans and new shoes, so he could look his best at his funeral.

But the clothes were never used.

Yong was granted a stay of execution after lawyer M. Ravi applied to the High Court for a hearing to challenge the validity of the death penalty.

That came just two days before Yong was to be hanged. On Thursday, Yong was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to receive 15 strokes of the cane. This follows amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act passed in Parliament in November last year.

So what became of the funeral clothes they bought for him? Said Mr Yong with a smile: "Oh, we have already given them away. I'm glad my brother won't get to wear them - ever!"

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