Corpun file 26763 at www.corpun.com
Daily Mail, London, 11 January 2019
British ex-public schoolboy, 29, is at the centre of diplomatic row after Singapore sentences him to 'barbaric' 24 strokes of the cane on his bare buttocks over drugs offences
London-born Yuen went to £37,000-a-year Westminster School in the capital
By Stephen Wright for the Daily Mail
A British ex-public schoolboy is at the centre of a major diplomatic row after being sentenced to 24 strokes of the cane for drugs offences in Singapore.
The case has sparked a rift between Singapore and the UK, which traditionally have close ties.
It has also prompted the intervention of Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his officials, who made clear they 'strongly oppose the use of corporal punishment'.
London-born Ye Ming Yuen, 29, has also been ordered to serve 20 years in jail after being convicted of seven drug offences, including trafficking
London-born Ye Ming Yuen, 29, who went to £37,000-a-year Westminster School, will be stripped naked and strapped to a large wooden trestle.
Then his buttocks will be flogged 24 times with a 4ft-long rattan cane.
His 'judicial corporal punishment' -- which will be inflicted by a 'trained caner' taught how to cause the most pain possible -- is the maximum caning sentence that can be handed out in Singapore and could leave him scarred for life.
Yuen has also been ordered to serve 20 years in jail after being convicted of seven drug offences, including trafficking.
He was originally facing the death penalty but the capital charge was dropped because the net weight of drugs involved was below 500g.
Last night Yuen's family branded the caning sentence as 'barbaric' and 'a form of torture', and begged authorities in the former Crown colony -- renowned for its no-nonsense approach to law enforcement -- to grant him clemency.
Mr Hunt raised Yuen's case with Singapore's minister for foreign affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, while visiting the country last week, and since then Foreign Office officials have made representations on Yuen's behalf. Human rights groups have condemned Singapore's use of the cane, saying it breaches the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
Yuen -- first arrested over drugs offences in August 2016 -- is being held at Changi prison. According to his family, who live in the UK, the only furniture he has in his cell, where he spends 22 hours a day, is a bamboo mat. He is allowed only two visits from family per month.
Details of Yuen's plight are outlined in his handwritten appeal submission, in which he asked for a reduced sentence of eight and a half years and 15 strokes of the cane.
A former top club DJ in Singapore, his offences include two counts of 'repeat drug trafficking' -- one of 69g and one of 60g of cannabis. Another offence included drug trafficking of 15g of crystal meth. In his failed appeal bid, he said: 'Should a shorter sentence be imposed, it would allow me to remain useful in society.
'I was misled in my youth, in an environment surrounded by drugs, to fall into the dark lure of addiction, oblivious to the hold it had on me.' Before moving to Singapore in 2007, Yuen -- the son of a marketing consultant from China and a Singapore-born marketing executive -- was a pupil at Dulwich Prep School in South London and then Westminster School, whose alumni include Nick Clegg, Peter Ustinov and John Gielgud.
At Westminster School he gained 11 GCSEs -- four A*s, six As, and one B. But while at the top public school he 'got in with the wrong crowd' and ended up in trouble with the Metropolitan Police.
In 2007, it emerged that Yuen was wanted by Scotland Yard over an alleged forged driving licences scam. A newspaper tracked him down to Singapore, where he reportedly admitted that he manufactured fake documents and sold them to pupils.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: 'Our consular staff have been assisting a British man and his family since his arrest in Singapore in 2016. We strongly oppose the use of corporal punishment, such as caning, in all cases.'
A spokesman for the Singapore High Commission in London said: 'Singapore deals with the drug problem comprehensively with the strictest enforcement coupled with the severest of penalties to protect the welfare of the public and our collective aspiration to live and raise our children in a safe oasis.'
Corpun file 26750 at www.corpun.com
The Times, London, 14 January 2019
I was too harsh, says father of drug dealer due to be flogged
By Valentine Low
The father of a British former public schoolboy sentenced to be flogged in a Singapore jail has spoken of his regret that he was too harsh with his son when he was a boy.
Ye Ming Yuen, 29, a former pupil at Westminster School, has been jailed for 20 years and sentenced to 24 strokes of the cane for repeat drug trafficking.
His father, Alex, 70, said: "He had a troubled life. I did not know how to nurture him." But he added: "The arrest brought us back together."
The businessman, who lives in London, says his son has been the victim of a miscarriage of justice because mitigating circumstances were not revealed before sentence was passed. They included the fact that after his arrest he helped police to arrest his supplier by calling her on his mobile phone, leaving him at risk of gangland reprisal.
Yuen, who was first arrested in August 2016 and again in February last year, was convicted of seven drug charges, including trafficking cannabis and crystal meth. He had faced the death penalty but the sentence was reduced because the net weight of drugs was below 500g (18oz).
Mr Yuen said his son got into drug dealing in Singapore while working as a DJ, not to make a profit but to do a favour for his friends. "He developed this need to please," he said, claiming it was a characteristic that could be traced back to his son's childhood.
"His teachers always described him as very lively -- too lively. He is obviously very creative, very sensitive," he said.
"He needs a lot of attention and reassuring, which I did not give him. I was brought up in a very strict way.
"My father caned me, so when he was young I caned him. Then he went to boarding school, so I hardly saw him except at weekends. Therefore I think he had a void in him -- he didn't get recognition at home. For a sensitive person, this may be damaging. Going to Westminster did not help. There were a lot of talented people there. . . I think the pressure made him feel inferior."
When he was in his mid-teens he had a row with his father, and walked out of the family home, sleeping in the park before staying with friends.
Later he learnt how to make fake IDs for his school friends so they could buy alcohol or cigarettes under age. "He thought it was fun," his father said. However, the police found out after a parent complained and "he ran off and went to Singapore".
That led to a long rift, which only began to be repaired when they spoke once more after his arrest. "For that I am grateful," Mr Yuen said.
Mr Yuen, who has been unable to visit his son in Changi prison because he has been refused a visa to Singapore, said that his son freely admitted his guilt and told police he had been selling drugs to his friends. That, and the fact that he helped them arrest his supplier, should have led to a more lenient sentence, he said.
"He believes it is unfair, he believes it is unlawful. But he accepts it, because his integrity says you must repay society for the mistakes you make," he said. "For this stupid ideology he has sacrificed his life. But if there is justice, Singapore would review the case."
He added: "By helping Singapore arrest this high-ranking supplier, Ye Ming put himself at risk. The risk of gangland reprisal will exist for many years. I would not be surprised if Singapore sent me a message saying sorry, your son is dead, because somebody stabbed him."
© Times Newspapers Limited 2019.
Corpun file 26767 at www.corpun.com
Today, Singapore, 15 January 2019
British drug trafficker who faces 24 strokes of the cane must bear consequences of committing offences in S'pore: MHA
By Louisa Tang
SINGAPORE -- A British national who was sentenced to 20 years' jail in Singapore for drug-related offences "must bear the consequences of his actions" in accordance with the Republic's laws, said a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesperson on Tuesday (Jan 15).
The case has made headlines in the United Kingdom, with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt raising his country's opposition against the use of corporal punishment during a recent meeting in Singapore with the Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
In response to media queries, the MHA also rebutted an article by British newspaper Daily Mail on Yuen Ye Ming, 29, which quoted his sister as saying that he was supposed to be caned but that it did not proceed after he protested with prison guards.
"The claim by Yuen's sister that was reported by the Daily Mail, that we were going to proceed with the caning and then had halted it, is patently false," the MHA spokesperson said.
The London-born former club disc jockey, who was first arrested in August 2016, was convicted in court in January last year. He was then released on court bail pending sentencing.
A month later, he was arrested again for committing similar drug-related offences.
He was ultimately convicted of offences including drug trafficking, as well as consumption and possession of drugs.
According to the Daily Mail, his charges included trafficking in 15g of methamphetamine, as well as almost 130g of cannabis, also known as marijuana or weed.
The MHA spokesperson clarified that Yuen faces 24 strokes of the cane -- the maximum number that can be meted out to an offender -- but the caning has not yet been carried out. The article also said that Yuen originally faced the death penalty, but it was dropped as the net weight of drugs involved was below 500g.
In Singapore, offenders who are found in possession of a certain amount of controlled drugs face the mandatory death penalty.
Representatives from the British High Commission in Singapore, as well as his family members, have visited him, said the MHA spokesperson.
Responding to media queries, a spokesperson from the United Kingdom (UK)'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that Mr Hunt personally raised the case with Dr Balakrishnan earlier this month.
Mr Hunt was in the Republic for a two-day visit, during which both countries launched a "partnership for the future", building on the historical links between Singapore and the UK.