SINGAPORE – Yong Vui Kong’s Death Sentence lifted following Landmark Decision

Yong Vui Kong 2

In a landmark decision made on 14 November, Singapore’s High Court lifted the death sentence on Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian man, aged 25. After six years in death row, Yong instead received a life sentence and 15 strokes of the cane.

ADPAN, NGOs, lawyers and activists from around the world are celebrating the news that Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian man, who was arrested in 2007 aged 19, for possessing 47g of heroin and sentenced to death in 2009 under Singapore’s strict mandatory death penalty laws, has been spared the death penalty.

Yong’s lawyer and ADPAN member M. Ravi launched a series of appeals in the Courts appealing for Yong Vui Kong. This included challenging the constitutionality of Singapore’s mandatory death penalty laws. In 2011 all death sentences in Singapore were suspended whilst a review affecting the mandatory death penalty was carried out. In late 2012, Singapore’s Parliament decided that certain mandatory death penalty laws be changed, including the Misuse of Drugs Act allowing the courts to give discretion in imposing the death penalty in certain cases if they prove that they did not intend to cause death.

ADPAN remains concerned that Yong Vui Kong faces caning –a violation of the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, which could also amount to torture.

Following the court’s decision, M Ravi, said, “This is the happiest day of my client’s life. He feels intense gratitude towards all who have worked so hard to save him from being executed…for their commitment and dedication to saving his life”.

“Yong has spent six years facing the prospect of losing it after an unfair judicial process” said ADPAN Coordinator, Louise Vischer, “this is a significant ruling for the many who have supported Yong Vui Kong in lifting this death sentence and for others who have been sentenced under Singapore’s strict drugs laws”.

ADPAN has a membership in Singapore and across the region. ADPAN works for an end to the death penalty across Asia-Pacific.

ADPAN members in Singapore:

  • Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)
  • We Believe in Second Chances
  • Think Centre
  • Singaporeans for Democracy (SFD)

URGENT ACTION: Yong Vui Kong – Third appeal against death sentence rejected

Further information on UA: 296/09 Index: ASA 36/002/2012 Singapore Date: 5 April 2012


THIRD APPEAL AGAINST DEATH SENTENCE REJECTED 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 Vu i 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.

In the court ruling on 4 April, Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong stated that the appeal was rejected because “it has absolutely no merit on the law and on the facts”. The ruling said that the appeal contained “mere assertions” and some were “contrary to evidence”.

This was the third appeal for Yong Vui Kong which has been rejected. 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.

Yong Vui Kong was only 19 when he was arrested for trafficking 47 grams of heroin into Singapore. Under Singapore’s drug laws, a defendant is automatically presumed guilty of drug trafficking in cases where possession of heroin exceeds two grams. This provision violates the defendant’s right to be presumed innocent of a crime until proven guilty. In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for trafficking more than 30 grams of heroin. Yong Vui Kong’s last hope is clemency from the President of Singapore, who can grant this only on the advice from the Cabinet. Clemency for a death sentence in Singapore has only been granted six times since independence in 1965.

Official government figures state that there were four executions in 2011, two of them for drug-related offences. Between 2004 and 2010, at least 26 Singaporeans and 12 foreigners were hanged.

Please write immediately in English, Mandarin or your own language:

Call on the Singaporean authorities to stop the execution of Yong Vui Kong;

Demand that they suspend all executions and the imposition new death sentences, and commute all death sentences as a step towards total abolition of the death penalty;

Call on them to revoke legislation establishing mandatory death sentences.


President of Singapore

His Excellency Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam

Office of the President

Orchard Road, Singapore 238823

Email: Or fill-in the comment form at the President’s office via:


Foreign Minister of Malaysia

His Excellency Datuk Seri Anifah Amam

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Wisma Putra No.1 Jalan Wisam Putra, Precinct 2 62602 Putrajuya, Malaysia

Fax: +60 3 8889 1717

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:


The Online Citizen

An online Community of Singaporeans

(an alternative news source for Singapore)


Salutation: Your Excellency


Additional Information

Singaporean law makes the death penalty mandatory for trafficking more than 30 grams of heroin. 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.“

Name: Yong Vui Kong

Gender m/f: male

Further information on UA: 296/09 Index: ASA 36/002/2012 Issue Date: 5 April 2012