Singapore founder gets jail, caning for drug trafficking

Founder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news and social networking website Stuart Koe Chi Yeow was sentenced to jail for five years and nine months, with five strokes of the cane yesterday for selling methamphetamine - also known as Ice - to a drug abuser.

Following a trial, District Judge Olivia Low found him guilty on Feb 27 of one count of drug trafficking.

Koe, 45, who is also the managing director of local pharmaceutical company ICM Pharma, had sold one packet of a crystalline substance containing 0.17g of Ice for $240 to beauty adviser Yeoh Kim Koon.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong stressed that Koe had shown a lack of remorse, and he cannot be treated as a first-time offender because he had repeatedly sold drugs to Yeoh.

But Koe's lawyer Sunil Sudheesan asked for his client to be given the mandatory minimum sentence of five years' jail with five strokes of the cane.

He said there was no indication that Koe had committed the offence for a profit and that the amount of drugs involved was extremely small.

Yeoh, who is a convicted drug abuser and is also known as Eric, testified in court in September last year that he had bought drugs multiple times from Koe.

The court also heard that Koe will be appealing against his conviction and sentence.

He was offered bail of $45,000, pending this appeal.

He has five other drug-related charges against him for offences such as methamphetamine `consumption and possession.

The pre-trial conference for these cases will be held on March 22.

The bail offered for these cases was an additional $15,000. - SHAFFIQ ALKHATIB