Yong Vui Kong, a 21 year old Malaysian, was convicted by Singapore's High Court in 2008 of trafficking 42.27g of heroin and given the death sentence, mandatory for offences involving more than 15g of the illegal substance. He claimed that he was just a drug mule and was tricked into carrying the drugs. He filed an appeal but told his lawyers later to withdraw it, one week before the hearing in April.
In December last year, represented by Mr M. Ravi, he was given the chance to file a new appeal. The Court of Appeal said it had a duty to hear new legal arguments even after a criminal case had come to a close, especially if it involved the death penalty.
Most bloggers are against the death penalty, pointing out that many countries have done away with the death penalty and a teenager shouldn't be sentenced to death.
Singaporean blogger, Andrew Loh, wrote in his post on advocacy journalism blog, The Online Citizen:
Many countries have reversed their positions on the MDP. And all countries have pride. Yet, these countries perhaps placed a higher value on human life than national pride – especially when there are compelling reasons to do so.
And with the mandatory death penalty in Singapore, there are indeed compelling reasons for us to re-look the legislation.
Singaporean activist blogger, Rachel Zeng wrote:
However, I do hope that the humanity and logic existing within the judges will help them see that this young boy does deserve another chance to make up for his grave mistake – something that he did not realised until he was told after his arrest that heroin was not as ‘harmless’ as tobacco
Singaporean blogger, Xue Jianyue wrote:
Sentencing Yong Vui Kong isn’t going to solve the problem of the trafficker employing people of his age to smuggle drugs again and again because people like Kong, who is poor, unaware and desperate, can always be found in any society and tricked by drug smuggling rings.
He also argues that teens shouldn't pay the price for their ‘ignorance':
There is a difference between a person committing the crime knowing of the consequences and a person not knowing of the consequences. We should not hasten to punish both of them with the same penalty.
Singaporean blogger, Terence Lee, wrote:
And so what if a person is guilty? It makes no sense to punish a drug mule while the drug lord is left to hire another desperate drug trafficker.
And why the harsh treatment? Do trafficking drugs equate with a more severe crime like murder, and therefore equally deserving of the dealth penalty?
Where is the justice in that?