Charles Yeo Has Fled to the UK to Seek Political Asylum; Initially Said He Was Going Away for Work

The former chairman of the Reform Party, Lawyer Charles Yeo Yao Hui, has sought political asylum from the United Kingdom instead of returning to Singapore after a supposed business trip to Vietnam to meet a witness.

The travel period was supposed to be from 27 to 30 July.

His lawyers, Mr Ashin Ganapathy and Mr Azri Imran Tan from IRB Law, told TODAYonline on 1 August that they were not informed he was going to another country afterwards, or that he had chosen to flee Singapore.

Consequently, Mr Ashwin has said that he will be submitting an application to discharge himself as Yeo’s defence counsel.

Criminal Charges and Allegations

The 31-year-old politician faces a total of six criminal charges in Singapore.

They are as follows:

  • One count of uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of another under the Penal Code
  • Two counts for attempting to do so
  • Three counts of making abusive, threatening or insulting communication towards a public servant under the Protection from Harassment Act

Yeo was also arrested in January over allegations of committing criminal breach of trust and forgery in relation to his law firm’s clients.

Furthermore, Yeo has claimed that he intends to contest these charges.

According to the court documents, he was accused of making remarks on his Instagram and Facebook accounts that wound the feelings of the Christian community on three separate instances—13 Nov 2020, 23 Feb 2021, and 26 Feb 2021.

These posts were made on his now-defunct Instagram account @toxicstatenarrativeinsg.

Allegedly, the posts he made intended or had wounded the religious feelings of “Christians who view homosexuality as contrary to their religious beliefs”.

Yeo has purportedly referred to Christians as “radical and dogmatic” as well, even going as far as saying that select Christian churches were “homophobes with their trash agenda” and that they were “distorting the message of Christ”.

All in all, strong words were used.

As for the charges laid against him for harassing a public servant, it mainly refers to his spat with the Deputy Superintendent of Police Jonathan Auyong on 11 January of last year.

All of us have the right to the freedom of speech under a democratic rule, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get in trouble for said opinions.

And Charles Yeo has never been one to stifle himself; among other things, he called the officer a “fake public servant elevated by money pumped in by tuition” and “nothing but a pathetic coward and collaborator with an authoritarian regime”.

In essence, he’s being tried for the abusive and offensive remarks he hurled at DSP Jonathan Auyong.

If you think he’s stopped, well, you thought wrong, because less than 24 hours ago, he was calling the People Action Party “pappie dogs” on his new Instagram account @protectallminoritylivesinsg.

And that’s not mentioning the other 10 slides dedicated to his own Christian views.

(Yes, we counted.)

After he was accused of the aforementioned six criminal charges and for Criminal Breach of Trust,  he alleged that he was “facing a swamp of politically motivated prosecution aimed at imprisoning or exiling me”.

He also claimed that his charges were “trumped up” as a means to keep him in chains for as long as possible.

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On Seeking Political Asylum

Yeo asked for neither forgiveness nor permission in seeking political asylum from the United Kingdom.

In his recent Instagram stories, he owns up to the fact that he has indeed fled from Singapore, stating that it was a “very painful and difficult decision” for him to make.

He goes on to excuse his close friends, girlfriend and lawyers, writing that they weren’t aware of his plans.

Why did he decide to run away from Singapore, you ask?

Yeo feels that he won’t be able to get a fair trial in Singapore. He has publicly apologised to his lawyer as well.

He adds, “I believe that if the court was impartial, they would be able to vindicate me but I don’t think even the best lawyer can do anything in politically motivated cases.”

The police have long denied any accusations that Yeo’s cases are politically motivated.

Apart from seeking political asylum, Yeo won’t be staying idle in the UK.

Yeo mentioned that he plans on “volunteering to help [political asylum seekers] on an entirely unpaid basis”, and hopes that he can be admitted into the Bar there, or even pursuing a Master’s Degree.

Here’s a good question though: he’s been crowdfunding and even selling NFTs to raise his legal fees since mid-January…

What’s going to happen to the money, or his legal cases, for the matter? 

You can also watch this video to know more about his charges:

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Featured Image: Yahoo News Singapore