British-Born DJ to Get 24 ‘Barbaric’ Cane Strokes, 20 Years in Jail Over Drug Charges in Singapore
A 29-year-old British man will be stripped naked to receive 24 cane strokes on the buttocks after multiple drug offenses in Singapore.
Ye Ming Yuen, a former DJ at Zouk, is currently detained at a prison in Changi after being arrested in August 2016.
The sentence, which caused a diplomatic rift between the U.K. and Singapore, was ordered earlier this month after Yuen was convicted of seven drug offenses — including counts of trafficking related to marijuana and crystal meth.
After his caning, he will serve 20 years in prison.
A “trained caner” will strike Yuen 24 times with a rattan cane measuring four feet (48 inches), a punishment his family described as “barbaric.”
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his officials maintain that they “strongly oppose the use of corporal punishment.”
Yuen, born to Chinese and Singaporean parents, studied at Dulwich Prep School and the prestigious Westminster School in London, where tuition fees cost around £37,000 ($47,500) a year.
There, he achieved 11 GCSEs – four A*s, six As and one B — but already found himself in the “wrong crowd” and later in trouble with local police, according to the Daily Mail.
“I was misled in my youth, in an environment surrounded by drugs, to fall into the dark lure of addiction, oblivious to the hold it had on me,” Yuen said in his failed appeal to reduce his sentence to 15 strokes and 8.5 years.
He originally faced the death penalty, but his sentence was reduced because the drugs collected from him weighed less than 500 grams (18 ounces).
In 2007, he fled the U.K. to Singapore after forging driver’s licenses and selling them to teens in a £100,000 ($128,000) scam.
Speaking to The Evening Standard, he confessed his crimes, saying, “I’m sorry for what I did. I regret it now. But it was such an easy way to make money and my friends and I were so desperate to get into the clubs. I was a slave to the club culture and so were all my mates but we did not have the money and were too young.”
Hunt has since raised Yuen’s case to Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, while his office make representations on the detainee’s behalf. Various human rights groups also condemned his caning, arguing that it violates the United Nations Convention Against Torture — although Singapore has not ratified it.
In response to the U.K., a spokesman for the Singapore High Commission in London reportedly said, “Singapore deals with the drug problem comprehensively with the strictest enforcement coupled with the severest of penalties to protect the welfare of the public and our collective aspiration to live and raise our children in a safe oasis.”