Reform Party Charles Yeo crowdfunds legal support to fight ‘trumped up’ charges

Charles Yeo says he did well on Chinese-language exams despite his epic fail during a televised speech on July 3. Photo: CNA/YouTube
Charles Yeo says he did well on Chinese-language exams despite his epic fail during a televised speech on July 3. Photo: CNA/YouTube

The chairman of a progressive opposition party is asking the public to help fund his legal defense after he was arrested and placed under investigation in what he says is a politically motivated case. 

Charles Yeo, the 31-year-old meme lord the party announced yesterday would temporarily step down, said he was freed on a S$35,000 bond and appealed for help with his legal bills.

Days after his arrest last week, the police announced Saturday that he was being investigated for alleged criminal breach of trust and forgery at his law firm Whitefield Law Corp. 

“The Reform Party would like to clarify that Charles has kept the party informed of his arrest. It is our understanding that he has not been charged with any offence,” the party announced yesterday. “Charles Yeo has offered to step aside as Chair until this is resolved and the [Central Executive Committee] has accepted his offer.”

The police told the media on Saturday that Yeo and an unidentified man were arrested on Wednesday for their suspected roles in alleged offenses at the law firm where Yeo is employed  as a criminal defense lawyer. The police said the investigation was based on multiple reports from the firm’s clients.

They insisted that the arrest was not politically motivated after Yeo publicly declared the charges were “entirely trumped up and false.” He also accused officers of being unprofessional and thought seizing his phone and SIM card was “most unusual.” 

The party in its statement last night blamed Yeo’s woes on a rejected candidate from 2015 who “continually bombarded” its operations during the 2020 General Election, saying he filed a complaint which led to Yeo’s arrest.

“We understand from Mr Yeo that the arrests was the result of a complaint from a Mr Joseph Chen. Mr Joseph Chen is known to the Reform Party,” it wrote.

It has appointed Yasmine Valentina as acting chair.

Yeo leveled up to chairman in August 2020 after becoming a social media sensation for his failed Mandarin speech during the general election. The party was contesting in Ang Mo Kio GRC but lost miserably. 

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