From Amnesty International: 22-year-old due to be hanged in Singapore
May 16, 2010, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

A Malaysian man is at immediate risk of execution in Singapore. On 14 May, the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against a mandatory death sentence, which violates fair-trial rights.

Yong Vui Kong was sentenced to death in January 2009 for trafficking 47 grams of diamorphine (heroin), a crime committed when he was 19 years old.

Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act makes the death penalty mandatory for trafficking more than 30 grams of heroin, leaving judges no discretion to consider issues such as mitigating circumstances or to hand down alternative sentences. The law presumes trafficking in all cases involving the possession of over 2 grams of heroin, which shifts the burden of proving that no trafficking was involved from the prosecution to the defendant. This violates the core human right to be presumed innocent of a crime until proven guilty.

The President of Singapore rejected Yong Vui Kong’s petition for clemency on 1 December 2009. On 2 December 2009, the High Court postponed Yong Vui Kong’s execution (which had been set to take place on 4 December) to allow the Court of Appeal time to hear an application for a stay.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:

  • Urging President Nathan to reconsider Yong Vui Kong’s clemency petition and commute his death sentence;

  • Calling on the president to introduce an immediate moratorium on all executions, with a view to complete abolition of the death penalty;

  • Reminding Law Minister Shanmugam, that the Misuse of Drugs Act violates international human rights law and standards concerning fairness of prosecutions and trials;

  • Urging the Law Minister to recommend that Parliament revoke the mandatory death penalty for drug-trafficking and all other offences.



His Excellency SR Nathan

Office of the President

Orchard Road, Istana

Singapore 0922

Fax: +65 6735 3135


Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister for Law

The Honourable K Shanmugam

Ministry of Home Affairs

New Phoenix Park

28 Irrawaddy Road

Singapore 329560

Fax: +65 6258 0921


Salutation: Dear Mr Minister

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. This is the third update of UA 296/09. Further information:;;

Additional Information

In a 2007 drug-trafficking case, Singapore executed a young Nigerian, Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi. UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, Philip Alston, condemned the sentence on human rights grounds: “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.”

On 9 May, Singapore’s Minister for Law, K. Shanmugam, claimed that the mandatory death penalty is a deterrent that has saved thousands of lives, according to the Straits Times. Speaking with respect to Yong’s case, he said, “You save one life here, but 10 other lives will be gone.”

Amnesty International opposes the imposition of the death penalty in all circumstances and irrespective of claims of utility; the organization considered the death penalty a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.


8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Revisiting the topic.

So sorry about the latest development/court ruling.

Perhaps it’s beyond our understanding at the moment, this is the cost of keeping our society safe. In real life, nothing is free. Sometimes the cost is as high as the life of a misled young man.

Comment by Robert


If there is a bag of heroin in front of you, will you just brainlessly consume it or will you think of the consequences because you have been informed about it via the drug prevention efforts in our education system?

Why blame the drug mule being used by the drug lords to transport substances they sometimes do not know much about when alot of the drug abuse problems stems from misguidance and family environment at a young age? You want a society that is clean from drugs, beef up your advocacy and educational efforts and NOT hang the drug mules. You don’t want your kids to take the wrong choices, teach them well from young.

What if Yong Vui Kong is someone you know well, and you know that everything about his background is true, will you still hold the same opinion there?

Sending this 22 year old to the gallows is going to happen in real life soon.

In real life, there are many youths all over the world who have not heard about Singapore nor its mandatory death penalty on drug trafficking. In real life, there are also many youths being baited into secret societies to act as ‘runners’ for various tasks like money collection and drug delivery. In real life, there are children being deprived of education, parents and have been brought up being misled and misguided.

As a privileged nation who has all the resources to advocate against drugs and crimes, shouldn’t we contribute to the global society by helping these drug mules and criminals turn over a new leaf?

I’d rather have our taxes spent in such a meaningful way than to have our ministers pay themselves record high.

Comment by rachelabsinthe


Report to the appropriate authority. That’s what you or anyone with good senses would have done.


What do you think the appropriate public deterrence for narcotic smuggling should be? Think big; be reasonable.

Comment by Robert


1. Deterrence – Long jail sentence.

2. Helping to advocate and inform – Work with the international customs by putting posters everywhere at airports, train stations etc. Also, leaflets on flights, trains and bus rides coming to Singapore. Make sure they are in languages clearly understood by the people on board. The message should make people want to think about the so called ‘gifts’ or ‘medicine’ that they might be helping their ‘friends’ or bosses deliver, as well as hit home the fact that bringing drugs into the country is illegal. There must also be an avenue whereby they can surrender those goods and help the authorities get to the main source, which also guarantees their safety.

3. That and kick the Burmese drug lords out of our country. That may help make international headlines and send a really BIG message across.

These are what I can think of right now and I believe that our high paying geniuses can think of more. 🙂

Comment by rachelabsinthe

What happen if the drugs lord got away free….to run and ruin many young drugs mules….????
What happen to the many drugs addict…in drugs centre…????
Have the drugs lords is sentence to death if..found…?????…

Comment by fuji

Multilingual posters and flyers distributed across public access points. It’s specific, but most likely won’t be good enough.

Kick out the [Burmese] drug lords in our country. That would have been the ideal solution, but please keep in mind that as long as there is a mean for narcotics to slip into the country, there will always be willing or unwilling dealers to fill in the void.

Take care, Rachel. Sorry about the latest development on Kong’s case.

Comment by Robert

Yes I understand your point but I am also talking about customs abroad. They can specifically talk about consequences of bringing drugs to other countries. More can be done besides that of course but we will also need the co-operation of other governments and international NGOs to bring the knowledge of consequences with regards to drug trafficking to communities whereby mainstream news and education are hard to reach.

With regards to the Burmese drug lords… well they will never be kicked out because they are highly connected to people and places with power here. That is a knowledge rather well known especially to the international and local communities of NGOs and activists.

You take care too Robert and thanks for raising the questions. I am terribly sorry for the outcome too, especially so towards the family of Yong. They are trying to deal with the dismissal of the appeal… A few of us have the first hand experience of getting to know the family and they have been putting a really brave front.

May a miracle happen because Yong’s lawyer has not given up the fight yet.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Hang the drugs lord instead of the young man …the drug lord take the place of the drug mules….

Comment by fuji

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