As a family member of Yong Vui Kong, I am greatly comforted and very grateful to learn that Singapore is planning to revise some of its laws at this critical moment. My gratitude to Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hian and the Cabinet for rethinking the use of the Mandatory Death Penalty on drug mules, thus giving my brother a ray of hope. For someone like Vui Kong, death is indeed an overly harsh punishment. Killing a mule does not solve any problems if the mastermind remains at large. Amending the law will instead make Singapore a safer place and lead to a fairer justice system for all.
Vui Kong was a naive 19-year-old when he was lured into becoming a drug mule. His boss started by asking him to collect debts, then told him to deliver “gifts” (drugs). These bad people avoided coming into direct contact with the drugs themselves by placing the risk instead on their mules. Such gangs usually target vulnerable people and I am very sorry that my little brother became their unwitting sacrificial lamb.
Over the past six years, my whole family has been worrying about Vui Kong. We’ve never given up on him and have worked hard for him. This is because we believe my brother was tricked. He was naive and incapable of understanding the seriousness of his crime. Vui Kong didn’t know his boss was making use of him when he delivered the “gifts” (drugs). Till now, Vui Kong’s mother remains unaware that he faces the death penalty. She suffers from severe depression and my family has kept her in the dark. We hope Vui Kong will now be able to escape death so we no longer have to lie to our mother.
Vui Kong has embraced Buddhism. Over the past years, he’s become a vegetarian and spends his time studying Buddhist scripture, like a monk. Knowing this gives my family comfort. He is a completely different person from who he was in the past. Vui Kong has repented and is sorry for his past stupidity. We hope authorities can forgive him as he has now turned over a new leaf. Please give Vui Kong, a first-time offender, a second chance. He has changed and will spend the rest of his years doing what he can to support the anti-drug campaign. I believe Vui Kong, who is now a devout Buddhist, can use his experiences to reach out to other young people. He can use himself as an example to tell society about the evils of the drug trade and prevent would-be victims from becoming mules.
I hope the authorities can take into consideration Vui Kong’s youth, family background and other circumstances, before handing out punishment to Vui Kong. He is not a drug lord. He has cooperated and helped identify the real mastermind. I hope that now that the law is going to change, the courts can rethink his punishment and give a repentent Vui Kong, a chance to live.
Yong Yun Leong