A slew of reports surfaced on British media titles on Saturday regarding the case of a London-born Singapore DJ who was sentenced in the city-state to 20 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane for drug offenses including drug trafficking.
The Daily Mail said that the case involving DJ Ye Ming Yuen, 29, had placed Singapore and the UK in a “major diplomatic row” and reported that the UK’s foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt had intervened in the case when he visited Singapore earlier this month.
According to The Independent, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had confirmed that Hunt raised the issue personally to Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan when he visited Singapore for an official state visit.
“Our consular staff have been assisting a British man and his family since his arrest in Singapore in 2016,” said the FCO to The Daily Mail. “We strongly oppose the use of corporal punishment, such as caning, in all cases.”
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Details about talks regarding Ye’s case were not revealed during Hunt’s visit to Singapore, with official trip details focusing more on bilateral economic and trade matters between the United Kingdom and Singapore.
Ye, who goes by the moniker DJ MinG, was a resident DJ at Zouk Singapore from 2011 to 2013 and had also been spinning at various other clubs in Singapore such as Kilo Lounge and now-defunct Home Club.
According to The Sun, Ye had originally faced the death penalty for his offenses but the capital charge was reportedly dropped because the net weight of drugs involved was below 500 grams (17 oz).
He went to the prestigious Westminister School in the UK where he scored high grades in his subjects, according to media reports.
Ye’s conviction was brought to light some four months ago in a Reddit post on the r/Singapore channel, referencing an article on closed-door law service LawNet.
Coincidentally, Ye’s last post on his Instagram page was on May 2016, wishing Zouk a happy birthday at their 25th anniversary.
Ye’s Facebook page, when checked by Coconuts Singapore, was locked in private view.
Comments on the story on the Singapore Matters Facebook page largely stood by the ruling, with one commenter saying “When in Rome, do what the Romans do, as the saying goes”.
This is not the first time Ye has gotten into trouble; in 2007, Ye allegedly fled Britain for Singapore after manufacturing fake driving licences and selling them to pupils in a £100,000 (US$128,000) scam, according to The Daily Mail.
Coconuts Singapore has reached out to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British High Commission for comment.