Give Vui Kong a Second Chance

Photo credit: Han Thon

By Rachel Zeng

Despite the drizzle, about 150 people turned up for the event at Speakers’ Corner today jointly organised by The Online Citizen (TOC) and Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC).

The crowd was made up of activists, members of the various NGOs, opposition politicians, journalists as well as some concerned members of the public from all walks of life. Plain clothes police were spotted trying unsuccessfully to blend in with the crowd. I would personally like to thank them for turning up despite the rain, to “keep us safe”. Participants need not worry about their presence because they were just there to check on the organisers.

During the event, M Ravi who is the legal representative of Yong Vui Kong and a fellow member of SADPC, talked about his journey as a lawyer for death row inmates from the past to the present. He also shared with us Vui Kong’s reaction towards the group photo taken last December  (“Vui Kong, We Care“).

According to Ravi, Vui Kong felt very encouraged after being shown the photo. He asked Ravi for the names of each and everyone of us in the photo and made it a point to write the names down. He also wrote each of us a letter but due to prison regulations, he was not able to send them to us. I was really touched upon hearing that…

Besides Ravi, Andrew Loh who is the editor of TOC, also made a speech. In his speech, Andrew said that this event was not about the death penalty, what Vui Kong had done or whether drug trafficking deserves the death penalty or otherwise. This event was about mercy, compassion and second chances. This event was about mercy in spite of what Vui Kong had done.

Some belongings of Vui Kong were also brought to the event. They were brought back from Ravi’s visit to Sabah about two weeks ago. Together with Lynn from Lianain Films, they found some belongings of Vui Kong and his siblings, kept with care by Vui Kong’s mother. The belongings ranged from a pair of shorts worn when Vui Kong was 2, to his books and school uniform used and worn when he was in Primary 4.

You can read more about Ravi’s visit to Sabah here.

After the speeches were made, most of us proceeded to take a group photo holding cards saying “Give Yong Vui Kong a 2nd chance”. The cards were designed by Vui Kong’s younger sister, who has also been working actively in Sabah to generate awareness about her brother’s case.

We have also managed to gather 139 signatures for the petition as many who attended came forward to sign it the first thing they arrived.

Thank you everyone for your attendance and support, we will continue to work towards keeping Vui Kong alive and we hope that his case will also help us move towards the abolishment of the mandatory death penalty, if not the death penalty as a whole.

(More photos will be uploaded soon)


Read also: There must be room for mercy

Sign the petition here.

Participate in the Anti-Mandatory Death Penalty Project here.