Drug user's suppliers 'can't be established'

Stuart Koe Chi Yeow is on trial for one count of drug trafficking. He faces five other drug-related charges, which have been stood down and will be dealt with at a later date.
Stuart Koe Chi Yeow is on trial for one count of drug trafficking. He faces five other drug-related charges, which have been stood down and will be dealt with at a later date.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Lawyer suggests abuser trying to shield sources by accusing social site's founder

The lawyer for Fridae.com founder Stuart Koe Chi Yeow suggested in court that a convicted drug abuser was trying to cover up for drug suppliers in accusing Koe of selling him methamphetamine, or Ice.

Malaysian Yeoh Kim Koon had earlier admitted that he had started abusing the drug three months before he was introduced to Koe in July last year.

On the first day of the trial last Thursday, Yeoh told District Judge Olivia Low that he had consumed Ice with "Internet friends" he made on Facebook and gay dating app Grindr. He testified that he bought drugs only from Koe and did so multiple times.

Koe, 45, is the founder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news and social networking site Fridae.com.

Last Friday, defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan cross-examined Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) investigating officer Parthiban Mathevanan.

Inspector Parthiban testified that he was unable to establish the source of Yeoh's drugs prior to Yeoh meeting Koe. He said: "(Yeoh) didn't reveal any information on the people he got the meth from. He told me only about the accused... I can't confirm if (Yeoh) was covering up for someone."

The inspector said he also could not remember checking Yeoh's Grindr chat history.

Yeoh, who is also known as Eric, had worked as a Chanel beauty adviser at VivoCity. He is currently serving a 16-month jail sentence for drug-related offences.

Mr Sudheesan stressed that Koe had denied Yeoh's accusation that Koe had sold Ice to the Malaysian.

The lawyer read out a statement that his client gave the CNB on Sept 22 last year - the day of his arrest.

Koe, who is also managing director of pharmaceutical firm ICM Pharma, had said in his statement: "I have never sold any controlled substance to any individual including Eric Yeoh Kim Koon ever and vigorously reject and deny such (a) charge."

Koe is on trial for one count of drug trafficking. He allegedly sold Yeoh a packet of crystalline substance containing 0.17g of Ice for $240 on Aug 25 last year.

 
 

He has five other drug-related charges against him for offences including methamphetamine consumption and possession. They have been stood down and will be dealt with at a later date.

Yeoh was arrested in his Compassvale Street flat at around 7.20am on Sept 15 last year, and Koe was arrested a week later.

Koe is expected to take the stand when the trial resumes on Dec 18.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2017, with the headline 'Drug user's suppliers 'can't be established''. Print Edition | Subscribe