Fridae.com founder consumed drugs while out on bail for trafficking offence

Stuart Koe Chi Yeow was sentenced to a year and a month's jail on Jan 22, after pleading guilty to one count each of drug consumption as well as being in possession of drug paraphernalia and nimetazepam or Erimin-5.
Stuart Koe Chi Yeow was sentenced to a year and a month's jail on Jan 22, after pleading guilty to one count each of drug consumption as well as being in possession of drug paraphernalia and nimetazepam or Erimin-5.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Being convicted and sentenced for drug trafficking early last year did not deter Fridae.com founder Stuart Koe Chi Yeow from abusing narcotics.

The founder of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news and social networking website was arrested on July 10 last year while out on bail pending an appeal against his earlier conviction and sentence.

His urine sample was later found to contain traces of methamphetamine.

Koe, 46, was sentenced to a year and a month's jail on Tuesday (Jan 22) after pleading guilty to one count each of drug consumption as well as being in possession of drug paraphernalia and nimetazepam or Erimin-5.

He will start serving this sentence after completing the one from last March, when District Judge Olivia Low found him guilty of one count of drug trafficking and sentenced him to five years and nine months' jail with five strokes of the cane.

On Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shana Poon told the court that Justice Chan Seng Onn dismissed Koe's appeals on Sept 21 last year and he started serving his sentence later that day.

He was found to be unfit for caning about two months later.

DPP Poon did not reveal the reason behind this decision.

 
 

The court heard that officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau raided Koe's Spottiswoode Park Road home at around 2pm on March 23, 2016, and arrested him.

The officers conducted a search and uncovered items including a fragment of a tablet - later found to contain nimetazepam - and a glass pipe attached to a rubber tube.

On Aug 25, 2016, Koe sold one packet of a crystalline substance containing 0.17g of Ice for $240 to a drug abuser and was convicted of this offence last year.

While out on bail, officers arrested Koe in a room at the Capri by Fraser Changi City hotel in Changi Business Park Central 1 last July.

His urine sample was later found to contain traces of methamphetamine.

Defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan on Tuesday that his client has learnt his lesson.

The lawyer added: "Give him some hope to start afresh."