Singapore

He's the ex-MP who spent 35 years on the run

He spent 35 years on the run. 

That put ex-member of parliament Phey Yew Kok on Interpol's wanted list — longer than any other Singaporean — it's believed.

Now he's back in court, after fleeing the country on Dec 31, 1979.

PHOTO: ST FILE

The former National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) president and People's Action Party MP turned himself in at the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok on Monday (June 22).

 Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau officers escorted the 81-year-old back to Singapore a day later. 

And he was in court on Wednesday (June 24) to hear the charges against him.


Not heard of Phey? Here's a quick guide on his rise and fall

  • Born in 1934
  • Educated in Chinese stream, switched to English-stream secondary school
  • Appointed president of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in 1970
  • Elected general secretary of Singapore Industrial Labour Organisation (SILO) in the same year
  • Became NTUC chairman in 1979
  • Contested 1972 General Election under PAP banner
  • Elected MP for Boon Teck constituency​ (1972 — 1980)

Here are 5 things about the case in brief:

*Phey had been charged in December 1979 with four counts of criminal breach of trust involving S$82,520. *He was also charged with other offences under the Trade Union Act for investing $17,745 of trade union money in a private supermarket without approval. *He was then released on $100,000 bail but did not have his passport impounded. *A warrant of arrest was issued against him after he failed to turn up in court on Jan 7, 1980. *His two bailors lost $95,000 of their bail bonds.

The Straits Times reported that the prosecution has applied for Phey to be remanded at Changi Prison for investigations.

More charges will be tendered against him. A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for July 23.

In response to media queries, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said:

"Phey Yew Kok was facing charges of criminal breach of trust when he absconded while on bail in 1980.

He has now turned himself in and returned to Singapore. He has been charged in court, and the law will have to take its course.

"This will bring closure to a long outstanding case involving a person who was holding public office as an MP and a senior union leader."

PM Lee also posted on Facebook yesterday (June 24):

PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ LEE HSIEN LOONG

Sources: Straits Times, Today, Facebook/ Lee Hsien Loong, Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau

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