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Warrant of arrest issued for fugitive lawyer and former Reform Party chairman Charles Yeo

SINGAPORE — A district court on Wednesday (Aug 3) issued a warrant of arrest for fugitive lawyer Charles Yeo Yao Hui, also former chairman of Reform Party, who failed to return to Singapore after leaving the country for a work trip.

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

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

SINGAPORE — A district court on Wednesday (Aug 3) issued a warrant of arrest for fugitive lawyer Charles Yeo Yao Hui, also former chairman of Reform Party, who failed to return to Singapore after leaving the country for a work trip.

No bail will be granted for the 31-year-old who faces six criminal charges in Singapore and is now seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom.

In a series of Instagram Stories videos posted on his account "@protectallminoritylivesinsg" over the weekend, he said that he is seeking political asylum in the UK and that it was a "very painful and difficult decision" for him to make.

Yeo, who was charged in January, faces the following:  

  • One count of uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of another under the Penal Code

  • Two counts of attempting to utter words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of another under the Penal Code

  • Three counts of making abusive, threatening or insulting communication towards a public servant under the Protection from Harassment Act

After he was charged, Yeo alleged that he was “facing a swamp of politically motivated persecution aimed at imprisoning or exiling me”.

He said then that he intended to contest the charges. He also offered to step down as chairman of Reform Party until the matter was resolved.

Yeo was also one of two people arrested in January, alleged to have committed criminal breach of trust and forgery in relation to his law firm's clients.

He has not yet been charged over these allegations.

On Wednesday, a district judge also granted an application for Yeo’s lawyers — Mr Ashwin Ganapathy and Mr Azri Tan of IRB Law — to discharge themselves from the case.

Speaking on behalf of the two lawyers, who were not present in court, their colleague Victoria Tay said that Mr Ashwin and Mr Tan wanted to “put on record” that at no point did they know that Yeo would be departing from his itinerary or seeking asylum in the UK.

“We were never informed that he was going anywhere other than Vietnam,” said Ms Tay.

Yeo had been granted permission to leave Singapore to travel to Vietnam to meet a witness for an unrelated case between July 27 and 30, but he failed to return.

The Ministry of Law's website states that he is currently a legal assistant at S K Kumar Law Practice LLP.

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charles yeo lawyer Reform Party political asylum court arrest warrant police car

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