Daily Mail reporter barred from making visits to British drug smuggler in Singapore after unauthorised interview
SINGAPORE: A journalist with the Daily Mail will be denied further visits to British drug smuggler Yuen Ye Ming, after conducting an unauthorised interview with him in Singapore, said the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) on Wednesday (Jan 23).
Yuen had been sentenced to 20 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane for various drug offences, including trafficking.
His case was raised by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt when he was in Singapore for an official visit earlier this month.
The Daily Mail interview with Yuen was conducted by journalist Stephen Wright, who spoke to him on Jan 18 via video link from the Prison Link Centre in Geylang Bahru.
Wright had been registered by Yuen’s uncle to accompany him on the tele-visit as a family friend, said SPS, adding that such visits by non-family members may be allowed if accompanied by registered family members.
“However, Wright had not obtained permission from SPS to speak to Yuen in his capacity as a journalist for the Daily Mail, for the purpose of publicising the content of their conversation," said SPS in response to Channel NewsAsia's queries.
“SPS does not allow interviews to be conducted with prison inmates without prior approval. Wright had undertaken the tele-visit under false pretences. He will be barred from making any further visits."
In the interview with the Daily Mail, published on Jan 19 Singapore time, Yuen described his time in Changi prison and how he felt having to face 24 strokes of the cane.
London-born Yuen is the son of a marketing consultant from China and a Singapore-born marketing executive, according to an earlier report by the British publication.
Prior to moving to Singapore in 2007, he attended Dulwich Prep School and Westminster School in England, the report said.
Formerly a club DJ, Yuen said that he had been "misled in his youth, in an environment surrounded by drugs" in an appeal bid cited by the British newspaper.
Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs said Yuen was first arrested on Aug 5, 2016. He was then convicted on Jan 17, 2018 and released on court bail, pending his sentencing.
While he was out on bail, Yuen was arrested again on Feb 20, 2018 for committing similar drug-related offences.