Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yong Vui Kong, Fall Guy

Vui Kong was caught carrying 1.5 ounces of heroin into Singapore. He has been found guilty by Singapore's Courts, and sentenced to death. He was 18 years old at the time, a child. A child, who, in his 18 years of life, had known nothing but abject poverty.

Is that how heroin is smuggled into countries now, one ounce at a time? The answer is that it is not. It is smuggled in kilograms, or tens of kilograms, if not more. It is, however, a common ruse of drug smugglers to send in several shipments at the same time. They will then tip off the authorities, about the courier of some paltry ounce or two; and while the authorities focus on those, slip the bigger shipments through. The courier who was the fall guy, was always meant to get caught. So we believe, was the case with Yong Vui Kong.

But Vui Kong was not just the fall guy for the drug smugglers. He is now a fall guy, for Singapore's government. Their use of the death penalty to deter drug smugglers, does not work. But they continue with their policies, all the same.  An execution every once in a while, serves to remind the public, that they are tough on crime, even if it achieves little else. The death penalty, they must know by now, is a simplistic, ineffective solution that cannot solve the complex issues of crime and it's causes.

It would be cruel injustice indeed, if Vui Kong were to be sent to the gallows, simply because the Singapore Cabinet, has no idea on how to stop drug smuggling. Are children to be hung now, for 1.5 ounces of heroin, the worth of which cannot be more that S$4,000. Is the value of human life, so low, in Singapore? Can they create a life for S$4,000? Can they create one, for any sum?

Singapore's Cabinet, by refusing Vui Kong clemency, is simply sacrificing him at the altar of convenience, to a god grown grim, by the nature of their offerings.


  1. Now that the govt critics and opponents are fighting to lend support to Vui Kong's case, I'm afraid that his fate is already sealed by the PAP govt's ruthlessness in never giving credit to the opposition's cause.

    LKY has never been known to be a merciful man. Never mind that Vui Kong is a young man who deserves a second chance.

  2. As a casual observer, I would like to point out a factual inaccuracy in the interesting piece which you have posted above. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the penalty of trafficking in 15g of pure diamorphine is death. However, 15g of pure diamorphine is not the same as 1.5 ounces of heroin, which is name of the narcotic that is abused on the streets. 15g of pure diamorphine may be little more than a 20-cent coin here in Singapore, but it is of a lethal dose. In fact, 15g of pure diamorphine translate to approximately 3-4 weeks worth of heroin supply for a regular heroin addict, and unlike what you have suggested above, it could possibly weigh as much as a brick of heroin [depending on potency]. In the instant case involving Yong, he was caught with trafficking 47.27g of diamorphine, which were found in two packets at the time of his arrest. It is common practice in the trade for drug dealers to further dilute the drugs they have before distribution to addicts, in which case they make a hefty profit from the sale. I do not profess to be an expert in narcotics or heroin, but I believe it's a reasonable conclusion that 47.27g of diamorphine would translate to a fairly large amount of heroin for street consumption. Enough, at least to get more than your fair share of abusers addicted to the substance.

  3. Spare one life to save other, one drug smuggler death is a victory for the people of Singapore. I'm only 11(and I'm from Malaysia btw) and know that smuggling drugs can get me hanged. This "child" have an education up to 14-15 years old, so any person who is not born brain defect, should have an idea about the consequence of smuggling drugs. Beside,by not telling who ask him to distribute the drugs in the first place, clearly shows that this guy really know who is he dealing with. Hey...its not like he was caught in Singapore Airport because his bag contains drugs without his knowledge, this dude is really doing business here on the street, that is destroying people life. But IMHO death penalty=life imprisonment without possible of a parole. Just my thought about it.