Charles Yeo Seeks Political Asylum In UK After Being Granted Permission To Travel Till 30 Jul

Charles Yeo Claims He Cannot Get Fair Trial, Reportedly Seeking Asylum In UK

Former Reform Party chairman Charles Yeo first became famous when he ran for GE2020, winning the internet over for his unforgettable Mandarin speech.

But in recent years, he has become known for his strong opinions on local issues, which ultimately landed him in legal trouble.

Police Confirm Charles Yeo’s Arrest, He’ll Step Aside As Reform Party Chairman For Now

Earlier this year, the court permitted Mr Yeo to travel to the Vietnam to meet clients. However, he failed to return on 30 Jul, the supposed end of his travel period.

On Sunday (31 Jul), he revealed on Instagram that he had made the “painful” decision to seek political asylum in the UK.

Charles Yeo seeking asylum

After being granted court permission to travel from 27 to 30 Jul, Mr Yeo failed to return to Singapore.

According to TODAY, his lawyers did not know he would stay in the UK. Both lawyers, Azri Imran Tan and Ashwin Ganapathy, will be making an application to discharge themselves from representing him.

On Sunday (31 Jul), Mr Yeo took to Instagram to share that he is seeking political asylum there, saying it was a “very painful and difficult decision” to make.

Source: @protectallminoritylivesinsg on Instagram

Maintaining that he did not embezzle any money, he apologised to his lawyers and explained that he did not believe he could get a fair trial in Singapore.

“I don’t think even the best lawyer can do anything in politically motivated cases”, he said.

Mr Yeo also revealed that his girlfriend, close friends, and lawyers were unaware of his decision to seek asylum.

Believes UK legal system is impartial

In a series of Instagram stories, Mr Yeo elaborated that he did not choose to hide in a “backwater far removed and lawless crime haven country” because that is not what an innocent person would do.

Instead, he chose to be in the UK to see how the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) presented his case to the UK, which he deemed an “impartial and non-pappie controlled legal system”.

Charles Yeo seeking asylum

Source: @protectallminoritylivesinsg on Instagram

Based on insider information, he added that he would have been taken into remand indefinitely without bail if he did not leave Singapore, making it more difficult to vindicate his name.

Mr Yeo also shared that while in the UK, he met up with Reform Party’s Secretary-General Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam and a British Member of Parliament (MP). He also claimed to have spoken at length with Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

Following that, he challenged the Singapore authorities to “wait and see” the people who would testify on his behalf to support his asylum application.

Charles Yeo seeking asylum

Source: @protectallminoritylivesinsg on Instagram

In the meantime, during his stay there, Mr Yeo said he would be volunteering to help other asylum seekers.

He will also be studying to be admitted to the Bar in the UK and possibly do a master’s degree.

Faces six criminal charges

31-year-old Mr Yeo currently faces six criminal charges in Singapore:

  • one count of uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings
  • two counts of attempting to utter words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings
  • three counts of making abusive, threatening, or insulting communication towards a public servant

In January, he was also arrested for allegedly committing criminal breach of trust and forgery to his law firm’s clients.

Last week, Mr Yeo was ordered by the Court of Appeal to pay S$4,000 in personal costs to the Attorney-General.

This was in relation to improper behaviour when filing applications to challenge two drug traffickers’ death sentences in February.

According to The Straits Times (ST), for each count of wounding the religious feelings of another person, he can be jailed up to three years and fined.

Hope justice will prevail ultimately

In such court cases, it is not uncommon for those prosecuted in Singapore to seek asylum elsewhere.

As of now, it remains unclear if the multiple allegations against Mr Yeo are true.

But ultimately, we hope justice will prevail, and Mr Yeo, if found innocent, will be able to clear his name.

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Featured image adapted from Lianhe Zaobao and @protectallminoritylivesinsg on Instagram.

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