Cheong Chun Yin was convicted of trafficking 2.7kg of heroin into Singapore in February 2010. The Court of Appeal upheld the sentence in October 2010.
To this day, Chun Yin claims that he did not know the suitcase he had been given in Myanmar contained heroin. He had been told that he would be carrying gold bars for the purposes of tax evasion. He says he did not cut open the lining of the bag to verify if the objects hidden in it were gold bars or not because he did not want to be held responsible for anything going missing.
Chun Yin was arrested alighting from a taxi in Arab Street in June 2008. At the time of arrest, he had already handed the suitcase in question over and did not have the suitcase in his possession.
During interrogation, Chun Yin gave detailed descriptions and phone numbers of “Lau De”, the man who set him up. However, it is unclear whether the CNB officers made any attempts to trace this man.
In his judgment, High Court Judge Choo Han Teck stated that “It was immaterial that the CNB did not make adequate efforts to trace Lau De or check on his cell-phones.”
Yet, this issue has assumed critical importance in light of the government’s recent amendments to the death penalty for drug offenses which requires Chun Yin to have provided ‘substantive assistance’ to the authorities before he can be sentenced to life imprisonment with caning instead of the death penalty. Is it then fair put the blame on him for not providing any ‘substantive assistance’ where his failure to do so was not his fault in the first place?
Father of Cheong Chun Yin on death row in S’pore speaking to d press saying death penalty must be commuted pic.twitter.com/EaDlFh8yBv
— M. Kula Segaran (@mkula) November 27, 2013
Furthermore, even if the CNB did go on to check the leads that Chun Yin provided then, it has been 6 years since his arrest and if any attempt to act on the intelligence which he gave is futile, the blame should not fall on Chun Yin’s shoulders such that it precludes him from being given a second chance.
Second Chances, therefore, urges the Singapore government to stay Chun Yin’s execution, because to execute him based on a requirement that makes it impossible for him to fulfill is to ignore our basic understanding of justice and fairness.