Posted by under News on 4 December 2009

Think Centre urges the president and the cabinet to consider Yong Vui Kong's clemency petition and commute his death sentence. Think Centre also calls on the government to remove the mandatory death sentence. The laws should be changed to permit judicial discretion and fairness for all cases.

Update: 5 April 2012

Yong Vui Kong's third appeal application against his death sentence was rejected on 4 April. Only an act of clemency from the President of Singapore can stop his execution from going ahead. Yong Vui Kong has already spent over four years on death row.
In January, Yong Vui Kong's lawyer submitted an appeal application stating that Yong Vui Kong should not be executed due to unequal treatment by the Attorney-General's Chambers. This is because while Yong Vui Kong has been sentenced to death, the 26 charges brought by the Attorney-General's chambers against his boss, a Singaporean alleged to have masterminded the crime, have been withdrawn.
The previous appeal applications focused on challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking and seeking judicial review of the clemency process.

Appeal to commute sentence

In 2009, then President SR Nathan on the advice of the Cabinet regarding the petition for clemency of Yong Vui Kong decided that the sentence of death should stand.

-Urge President Tony Tan and the cabinet to consider Yong Vui Kong's clemency petition and commute his death sentence;

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

The United Nations 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."

In 2007, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston said, "Singapore's decision to make the death penalty mandatory keeps judges from considering all of the factors relevant to determining whether a death sentence would be permissible in a capital case."

Singapore law makes the death penalty mandatory for trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin.

What happen in 2009

2nd December 2009, the High Court granted a stay of execution for Yong Vui Kong whose execution was due on Friday 4 December 2009.

8 December 2009, the Attorney-General's application to quash the stay of execution will be heard in the Court of Appeal. The Attorney-General has filed an application to quash the stay of execution which the High Court granted to Yong Vui Kong on 2 December 2009.

The application for this stay included the reason that Yong Vui Kong has the right to protection of the law. This includes the right to have an appeal determined by the full Court of Appeal (The Court of Appeal's first judgment was not made by the full court) and the recognition that the mandatory death sentence is arbitrary and cruel according to international law.

High Court granted Yong Vui Kong a rare second stay of execution. The court ruled that Yong had the right to a full appeal after he withdrew his first appeal without understanding the implications of what he was doing.

Sources and Relevant Links:


Judgement 2012 SGCA23 Yong Vui Kong V Public Prosecutor [2012] SGCA 23

Judgement 2011 SGCA9 2011 Yong Vui Kong v Attorney-General [2011] SGCA 9

Judgement 2010 SGCA20 2010 Yong Vui Kong v Public Prosecutor [2010]SGCA20

Judgement 2009 SGHC4 Public Prosecutor v Yong Vui Kong [2009] SGHC 4

Judgement 2009 SGCA64 Yong Vui Kong v Public Prosecutor [2009] SGCA 64

AI Singapore: Further information: Third appeal against death sentence rejected: Yong Vui Kong

AI Download Singapore: Further information: Third appeal against death sentence rejected: Yong Vui Kong

Temasek Review Case of drug-trafficker Yong Vui Kong: why is the AGC so keen to send him to the gallows?16 December 2009

TOC Vui Kong, we care a day for compassion7 December 2009

The Asia File Outlook for Yong Vui Kong still bleak despite rare reprieve10 December 2009

AIUSA SINGAPORE Further Information and follow-up: Yong Vui Kong 9 December 2009

TOC Yong Vui Kong given opportunity to appeal 9 December 2009

TOC Calling for an end to the mandatory death penalty 7 December 2009

Today Death row inmate gets stay of execution 03 Decemebr 2009

TOC High Court grants rare stay of execution 03 December 2009

RachelZeng Attorney-General is challenging the stay 4 December 2009

Straits Times Teen drug runner to hang 14 November 2008

Think Centre Relevant Links:

Think Centre Think Centre calls for a moratorium on Death Penalty 19 October 2003

Reuters S'pore frees German drug offender 30 July 2005

Think Centre Death Penalty Case Gets an Airing in Parliament 19 July 2001

Think Centre Singapore opposed the call for a moratorium on death-penalty 31 March 2002

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