A meeting with Mr Cheong Kah Pin
August 20, 2012, 3:43 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

Cheong Chun Yin’s family submitting the clemency petition on his behalf in April last year (2011)

I met up with Mr Cheong Kah Pin, father of death row in mate Cheong Chun Yin, at City Square (JB) on Sunday. It was one of the most heart-wrenching meetings I have ever had with a family member of an inmate on death row. He seemed to have lost some weight but compared to the last time I have seen him, he appeared slightly more optimistic about Chun Yin.

While I am glad that the announcement of the proposed changes towards the mandatory death penalty in Singapore has given him some hope, I cannot help but feel terribly saddened by how the whole situation with Chun Yin had affected him. Fortunately for me, he was talking to me in Mandarin, a language which requires 100% of my listening skills. Due to that, I managed to fight back my tears as I was too busy trying my best to understand every single word and respond to him in the same language than let my emotions overwhelm me.

Here are some of Mr Cheong’s words, translated as accurately as I can possibly manage, into English. I did not take a photo of Mr Cheong because I did not think it was appropriate as I did not meet him with the intention of interviewing him nor did I told him that I will be sharing my experience of the meeting on my blog.

At the Beginning

“I couldn’t sleep when he was first arrested. I would be up til about 3 to 4am in the morning. I would then travel to Singapore on my motorbike. I waited outside Queenstown Remand Centre until I was able to see him. Yes I did not sleep at all, I couldn’t… I saw him everyday and I was so worried. He was too trusting, too helpful and it has landed him into trouble. He did not want me to worry and told me that everything will be alright. He kept saying that… even til now… and I hope he will really be alright now that the law will be changed.”

Mr Cheong’s Hopes

“All we hope for is for him (Chun Yin) to live… and I wish he can come back to us soon. I am old, my health is not in good state… all I wish for is to have him back while I am still here. He is innocent you know… he trusted his friend and he ended up becoming a scapegoat. How can an innocent boy like that whose only mistake was being too naive, be hanged? I hope Singapore will really give him another chance… Hope he will be back to us soon… because I do not know how long I will be around.”

A Note of Appreciation

“I am really thankful that people have come round to help us. Mr Ravi has been very helpful. Thank you (to the campaigners) for all your concern too… thank you for everyone’s help…”

Well, will Chun Yin be free from death row? I certainly hope that he will be.

While we aim to achieve a drug free society, we cannot deny the fact that there will always be youths who will unknowing fall into the trap of becoming an unwitting drug mule due to their naivety. Chun Yin thought that he was helping his friend to bring gold into the country.

Besides that, he fully co-operated during the investigation process and gave the investigators the contact details of “Lau De” – something that was never followed up by the investigators, and which according to the judge, was immaterial.

No, this shouldn’t be the case. All investigations must be thorough and leads provided by the ones who are being investigated must be followed up with, especially when it is a capital crime. Hanging drug mules will never solve the drug problem because the syndicates will forever prey on those who are naive, ignorant or financially desperate to run on fire for them. If drug operations are not crushed, there will always be another Vui Kong or Chun Yin, unaware of the risk or the actual items they are carrying across the customs.


5 Comments so far
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Reblogged this on Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

who are you to talk so much? a small fry and potatoe! all you wanted is to have fame and make a name, why not go join a political party and be heard instead of whinning here with no substance, sure enough, you are just empty vessel, period and yes, you bring in drugs, you get hang, simple as that, with a bitch like you, why not you bring in drug and try out to debate the system and plead ignorant and not knowing what you are bringing, say, maybe you thought is dog shit!

Comment by xinling

Fame and name are not the reasons why I am doing this. To be honest, what fame, what name do I have or get? Sorry to disappoint you too, I have never thought of myself nor declare myself as a big shot.

There are many ways to contribute towards the society and I do not believe in joining any political parties. Socio-political involvement is not restricted to party politics or parliamentary politics.

If you would like to talk about substance, perhaps you should first look into the substance of your comment.


Comment by rachelabsinthe

Hello Rachel, if you did follow the news about drug activities in and around the region, there are a few Singaporeans got caught with drug trafficking in Australia and also in Malaysia,and will your Team do something to defend and petition their innocence and especially in Malaysia where the penalty is also Death.You seemed very quiet about these people AND that they are Singaporeans! Are you sucking to ONLY foreigners? So are you now doing something to help these ‘poor’ Singaporeans who needed money especially the case in Malaysia where he is caught and he is also coming from poor family and not so educated.What is your stand now?

Comment by sulin

Hi Sulin, sorry to take so long to reply as I have been down with too many things.

To tell the truth, when it comes to Singaporeans being sentenced to death overseas, e.g Malaysia, we do try to see what we can do for them. We will work with our contacts in the particular country while trying to contact the families. Also, we have no say or no in-depth knowledge of the systems in other countries so when we know about Singaporeans being sentenced to the DP abroad, we have to rely on fellow campaigners overseas to provide us with the info. In the case of Nur Atiqah, we were able to do so because they were openly campaigning for her but other families are really not easy to contact. We have the policy of not publicising cases when we do not have the approval from the families.

Our campaign works on the abolition of the death penalty as a whole, and we address the issue as a whole, whether there are death-row inmates to campaign for or not. We also help to publicise and campaign on individuals on death row, with the blessing of the families. To us, whoever we voice out for, are human beings regardless of nationalities.

I hope that answers your questions.


Comment by rachelabsinthe

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