SINGAPORE - Former NTUC chairman and ex-MP Phey Yew Kok, now 81, led a miserable life during his 35 years on the run, said his lawyers during his mitigation plea on Friday (Jan 22).
During that period, Phey took up odd jobs in Thailand including pig farming, working as a hawker and cleaning grease traps to support himself.
He struggled and worried daily about being arrested in Thailand. With no security, safety and a stable income at old age, it became increasingly difficult to survive.
As he aged, his health deteriorated. It became harder for him to find a job and he last worked as a watchman for a godown.
Away from his family, Phey, who is married with three children, moved from place to place without an identity card or passport, unable to stay long in a single place.
Phey, who is now completely blind in his right eye and suffers from severe hearing impairment, was sentenced to 60 months' jail after pleading guilty to 12 charges on Friday.
These included committing 10 counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abetting the fabrication of false evidence to a public servant and one count of failing to attend court when ordered to by a judicial officer.
His remaining 22 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Phey was represented by lawyers senior counsel Chelva Retnam Rajah, partner Chen Chee Yen and Mr Andre Teo.
Phey regretted absconding, said his lawyers.
He decided to surrender himself because Singapore is his home, and he wishes to spend his last days with his family instead of alone in a foreign land.
He wants to spend his time making amends with his family and getting to know his two granddaughters, whom he has never met, his lawyers told the court.