FORWARDED APPEAL (Singapore/Malaysia): Appeal for clemency for a man convicted to death 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you this appeal from the Amnesty International (AI) regarding the case of a man, Yong Vui Kong, who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Singapore. Vui Kong, a Malaysian national, was convicted in January 2009.

According to the AI, there were reports that the President of Singapore “is likely to be considering his clemency petition”. Vui Kong can only “escape execution only if the president grants (him) clemency”. The AI urges for your further intervention to save the life of this prisoner.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Dear friends,

On 3 November Amnesty International issued a UA on Singapore (ASA 36/004/2009), on behalf of Malaysian national Yong Vui Kong, who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Singapore in January 2009. We have since found out that Singapore’s President is likely to be considering his clemency petition within the next week, so please to send appeals as soon as possible.

Amnesty International have also recently received a translated copy of a letter of apology written by Yong’s brother, addressed to President S. R. Nathan and the people of Singapore, dated 23 June 2009, pleading for a pardon for Yong Vui Kong. With his permission, here are some excerpts from the letter:

“I hereby tender my sincere apology to all the people of Singapore regarding my brother’s wrongdoing.  I sincerely hope that all of you will give him a chance to live by pardoning him of his death sentence and commute it into a life sentence so that, as a first offender, he could have an opportunity to turn over a new leaf.  He is a remorseful youth now….

10-year old Vui Kong was unable to continue with his education….  Initially he became a kitchen help and he fell into bad company.   Vui Kong was used by the so-called “Big Brother” to be a runner to collect bad debts….  Vui Kong himself did not consume drugs, but from collecting bad debts, he was slowly tasked to delivering gifts.  The young Vui Kong obeyed the instructions of “Big Brother” who said that delivering a little bit of drugs would not lead to death.  Vui Kong fell into the trap of the drug trafficking syndicate.

His mother who suffers from depression does not know anything of his arrest…. My family and I conceal the truth from her as we are worried that she would not be able to take such a blow.

Although the chances of escaping death are very slim, I hope that all of you would give him a new lease of life and hope that Vui Kong would have an opportunity to live again and under the yellow ribbon scheme, he would be able to learn a skill in prison and make some contributions to society in the future.“


ua 296 Singapore (ASA 36/004/2009)


Malaysian man facing execution in Singapore

Yong Vui Kong was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in January 2009. He had exhausted his appeals by October, and can now escape execution only if the president grants clemency.

Yong Vui Kong was arrested in June 2007, when he was 19, by officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau. He was charged with trafficking 42.27 grams of heroin, and then sentenced to death in January 2009.

He had been working as a messenger for a man in Malaysia who often asked him to collect money from debtors or deliver packages as “gifts” to people in Singapore and Malaysia. At his trial, Yong Vui Kong said he had not known what was in the packages, and when he asked, he had simply been told not to open them. The judge, however, ruled that Yong must have been aware of their contents, saying in his written summation, “I found that the accused had failed to rebut the presumption against him. I am of the view that the prosecution had proved its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt, and I therefore found the accused guilty as charged and sentenced him to suffer death.”

Yong was convicted under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which provides that anyone found guilty of illegally importing, exporting or trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin will automatically receive a mandatory death sentence.

Governments need to address crimes, including drug trafficking, but there is no clear evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other forms of punishment. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions stated in his 2005 report that the “mandatory death penalty, which precludes the possibility of a lesser sentence being imposed regardless of the circumstances, is inconsistent with the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” To date, 139 countries have abolished death penalty in law or practice.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Mandarin or your own language:

Urging the president to grant clemency to Yong Vui Kong and commute his death sentence;

Expressing concern that because the death penalty is mandatory for drug-trafficking cases, the court had no discretion to sentence Yong Vui Kong to an alternative punishment;

Calling on the president to introduce a moratorium on executions, with a view to complete abolition of the death penalty.



His Excellency SR Nathan
Office of the President
Istana, Orchard Road
Singapore 0922
Fax: +65 6735 3135

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

The Straits Times
1000 Toa Payoh North
News Centre,
Singapore 318994
Fax: +65 6319 8282

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.



Malaysian man facing execution in Singapore

Additional Information

The authorities in Singapore do not release any information about the use of the death penalty in the country. At least one person is known to have been hanged so far in 2009, and at least three sentenced to death; in 2008, at least one person was hanged and five sentenced to death. The true figures are likely to be higher. The government has always maintained that the death penalty is not a human rights issue, and consistently lobbied other nations against the abolition of the death penalty.

All capital cases are tried by the High Court; convicted prisoners can appeal, and if they are unsuccessful they can apply to the president for clemency. President Nathan, who has been in power since 1999, is not known to have granted clemency to any condemned prisoner.

UA: 296/09 Index: ASA 36/004/2009 Issue Date: 03 November 2009


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : AHRC-FUA-018-2009
Countries :
Issues : Death penalty,