Yong Vui Kong
At the age of 19, Yong Vui Kong was arrested in 2007 with 47.27 grams of heroin. Due to his young age, the trial judge Justice Choo Han Teck asked the Prosecution to consider reducing the charge against him, as execution is mandatory for a person who is found to be trafficking more than 15 grams of diamorphine. However, the Prosecution declined. Vui Kong was then found guilty and sentenced to death on 14 November 2008.
Vui Kong decided not to appeal against the sentence because he had initially thought that he might be required to lie during the appeal in order to save his life, which was in contrary to the teachings of Buddhism – a faith that he had come to embrace during his time in prison. The court accepted his decision. This was followed by a President Clemency Petition, submitted to President SR Nathan by his then lawyer Mr Kevin Lim. The clemency petition was rejected on 20 November 2009.
His case was then taken up by Mr M Ravi, who had successfully managed to file a criminal motion seeking for leave to pursue an appeal, a few days before he was scheduled to face the gallows. Prior to this, Mr M Ravi had convinced Vui Kong that appealing against the sentence did not require him to lie in court.
This was followed by years of legal challenges, and with the amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, Vui Kong managed to escape the gallows as his sentence was reviewed in 2013, and his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with 15 strokes of the cane.