Petition to Grant Clemency for Yong Vui Kong
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Seeking the urgent attention of the Istana of Singapore and the Cabinet of Singapore
RE: Petition to Grant Clemency for Yong Vui Kong
We the citizens of Singapore, residents in Singapore and concerned individuals from the international community humbly put forward our plea of clemency for Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian who has been sentenced to death by the High Court of Singapore for trafficking 47 grammes of heroin. Yong was 19 years old at the time of offence. He currently faces impending execution.
We sincerely hope that Your Excellency and the Cabinet will take into account the various mitigating circumstances underpinning the case of this young boy.
Yong came from a poor village located in Sabah, East Malaysia. He was born the sixth child among seven siblings. At the tender age of three, his father left the family. Since then, Yong’s mother had to provide for the entire family financially. The family experienced constant financial hardships and had gone through countless seasons of hunger stints and deprivation.
As a single parent, Yong’s mother spent more than 12 hours a day at work and was not able to provide supervision and care to the children. Shortly, three elder siblings left the village to seek employment in the town area where they each managed to earn a sum only enough for basic sustenance.
Yong’s fourth brother and fifth brother being close in age with him were not able to mete out the responsibility of parenting and providing guidance towards Yong. Subsequently, Yong had to stop school at the age of ten. He then began working at a palm estate to exchange for daily meals without further monetary compensation.
Years later, Yong went to Kuala Lumpur and worked as a kitchen helper where he got discriminated due to his lack of literacy and his Eastern Malaysian background. At the age of 18, Yong took up a regular job in selling audio visual discs at a night market. This was the point where Yong fell into bad company. He was simple minded and naïve and went on to helping his bosses run simple errands like collecting debts. Soon after, he was tasked to send a “gift” which offered him some monetary payments.
The tasking by the bosses also came across as a form of authority and command to the young Yong who would never dare ask questions but felt obliged and coerced to carry out assignments given by his superiors. At the same time, this seemed a rare opportunity for the young Yong to earn enough money to provide for himself and his ill mother. Yong has always been cited as a filial son. Having witnessed his own mother victimized by family violence and suffering from chronic depression, Yong yearned to earn adequately such as to get himself and his mother out of poverty, suffering and oppression.
Yong’s low level of literacy and his coming from a laid back and rural background might have led to his under maturation in areas of his psycho-social development and cognitive development. He may not be seen on par with juveniles from the urban settings similar his age.
We collectively and unanimously seek Your Excellency and the Cabinet to give Yong Vui Kong a chance to commute his sentence to life imprisonment, in view of the harsh environments and the vulnerable situations he was exposed to since young as well as his relatively young age at the time of offence. During the two years of incarceration, Yong has been committing himself to daily reflections and we believe that given the extent of remorse exhibited by this young boy, there is potential for him to rehabilitate and reform.
We earnestly hope that your Excellency and the Cabinet can consider granting Yong this one chance to recourse and not have his life terminated. We collectively express our compassion and humanity as a society towards a better community, a better Singapore. We are grateful towards Your Excellency and the Cabinet for the grace that Your Excellency and the Cabinet would extend to Yong in granting him Clemency.
Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)