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Police gazette issued for arrest of lawyer Charles Yeo for breaching overseas travel conditions

SINGAPORE — The police said on Monday (Aug 1) that they have issued a gazette for the arrest of lawyer Charles Yeo Yao Hui, who revealed over the weekend that he was seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom.

Charles Yeo arriving at the State Courts on Jan 19, 2022.

Charles Yeo arriving at the State Courts on Jan 19, 2022.

  • The police have issued a gazette for the arrest of lawyer Charles Yeo
  • Yeo revealed over the weekend that he was seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom
  • He was granted permission by the courts to travel to Vietnam from July 27 to 30 in order to meet a witness for an unrelated trial
  • Yeo was required to report to an investigation officer on Aug 1 to surrender his passport upon return but did not do so

SINGAPORE — The police said on Monday (Aug 1) that they have issued a gazette for the arrest of lawyer Charles Yeo Yao Hui, who revealed over the weekend that he was seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom.

The police added that they are working with foreign law enforcement counterparts to trace his whereabouts.

Yeo, also the former chairman of Reform Party, was granted permission by the courts here to travel to Vietnam from July 27 to 30 in order to meet a witness for an unrelated trial.

However, his lawyers from IRB Law told TODAY on Monday that he did not inform them of any plans to go elsewhere.

Yeo reported to an investigation officer last Tuesday to collect his passport, provide his travel itinerary and furnish additional bail with his bailor before his departure on Wednesday, the police said.

Under the conditions of his application to leave the country, he was required to report to the investigation officer on Monday at 6pm to surrender his passport upon his return.

However, the police received a report from his bailor on Sunday that he did not return to Singapore. Yeo also did not report to the investigation officer on Monday.

The police tried to contact Yeo on Monday, but he could not be reached.

The 31-year-old Singaporean was set to return to court for a pre-trial conference on Aug 19 and was out on a bail of S$10,000. He is a legal assistant at SK Kumar Law Practice LLP.

He faces six charges in Singapore, including uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of others.

He was also charged in January with making abusive, threatening or insulting communication towards a public servant.

Yeo had indicated his intention to contest the charges. In a series of Instagram Stories on his account “protectallminoritylivesinsg”, he wrote that he went to the UK because he did not think he would get a fair trial in Singapore.

He has consistently alleged online that he faces politically motivated persecution. The police previously responded that their investigations were not politically motivated or “trumped up” for political reasons.

Yeo was meant to turn up at the State Courts on Monday to defend a 41-year-old man, Kok Chiang Loong, who is midway through a trial in relation to charges of having a marriage of convenience.

Yeo wrote on Instagram on Monday evening that a new lawyer will be representing Kok at the trial, which continues on Tuesday.

ARRESTED FOR CRIMINAL BREACH OF TRUST

Yeo was arrested for alleged criminal breach of trust and forgery in relation to his then-law firm's clients shortly before he was charged. On Instagram, he claimed that he “did not embezzle a single cent”.

He was a former partner of Whitefield Law Corporation.

Last week, the Court of Appeal ordered Yeo to pay S$4,000 in personal costs to the Attorney-General for acting improperly in filing applications to challenge the death sentences of two drug traffickers in February.

As for his current charges, he is accused of making remarks on his Instagram and Facebook accounts to wound the feelings of the Christian community on three occasions — Nov 13 in 2020 as well as on Feb 23 and 26 in 2021.

Before that, he posted a series of Instagram Stories on his now-defunct account "toxicstatenarrativeinsg" on Nov 3 in 2020 and Jan 11 in 2021, which were aimed at a police officer who had been carrying out his duties. 

Court documents identified the police officer as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Jonathan Auyong.

Court documents showed that in one Facebook post, Yeo wrote in reference to DSP Auyong: “Radical and dogmatic ‘Christians’ who are anti lgbt (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)… I heard that Jonathan Auyong hangs out with a clique of such Rafflesian elitist persons — even getting the Wuhan virus would be too good for them.”

If convicted of making remarks to wound religious feelings, he could have been jailed for up to three years or fined, or punished with both.

If convicted of using insulting words towards a public servant, he could have been jailed for up to 12 months or fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Related topics

court charles yeo lawyer abscond political asylum UK police arrest

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