Malaysian is first condemned drug trafficker to be spared the gallows following new law

After a four-year fight and a string of unsuccessful bids to challenge his death sentence, drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong, 25, finally be spared the death sentence.

The Malaysian was on Thursday re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane by the High Court. This follows changes to the law this year, giving judges the discretion to impose life terms and caning on drug couriers who substantively assist the Central Narcotics Bureau.

Yong is the first convicted drug trafficker awaiting his death sentence to be given a chance to under the new law.

In September, the Attorney-General's Chambers said it will certify that he had helped the authorities here disrupt drug-trafficking activities.

In 2008, Yong was sentenced to the then-mandatory death penalty for bringing a paper bag containing 47.27g of heroin into Singapore at the age of 19.

His lawyer M Ravi made several unsuccessful attempts to overturn his death sentence, including a constitutional challenge against capital punishment and a judicial review of the clemency process.

On Thursday, Yong's older brother, Mr Yong Yun Leong, 28, calling the outcome a "miracle", said his brother would have been hanged four years ago if he had not challenged the death penalty.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.