Court Calls Off Death Penalty For M'sian Who Smuggled 500G Of Drugs Into Singapore

He was sentenced to death in January this year by Singapore's High Court.

Cover image via Trevallog & Alphonsus Chern/The Straits Times

A Malaysian man escaped a death sentence when the Singaporean Court of Appeal decided to acquit him on Tuesday, 13 October, of a charge for being a drug courier

According to The Straits Times, the court found there were sufficient grounds that the accused, Beh Chew Boo, was not completely aware that he was committing a crime when he was arrested for being in possession of 499.97g of methamphetamine at Woodlands Checkpoint, Singapore in 2016.

The 38-year-old was sentenced to death in January this year by the country's High Court.

The Supreme Court of Singapore.

Image via The Straits Times

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judges of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang and Steven Chong found that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Beh knew that he was transporting drugs

He was arrested on 26 October 2016 while trying to cross the causeway when Police Constable Israel Rajan stopped him for a routine immigration check.

Beh and his girlfriend were riding a motorcycle that was owned by his friend and former colleague, Lew Shyang Huei, who Beh told the court he often borrowed the motorcycle from to enter Singapore as the toll fees were cheaper.

The policeman found several packages of a crystalline substance inside the storage compartment of the motorcycle and immediately arrested the duo. Investigations later confirmed the substance was methamphetamine.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Kelvin Chng/The Straits Times

When questioned, Beh said that he did not know the drugs were in the motorcycle and also denied that they were his

He also claimed that he did not know the contents of the packages until they were opened.

However, Beh admitted that he recognised the drugs that were seized as he had consumed 'yao tou wan' (the Chinese term for meth) a few days before at a party hosted by his friend, Lew.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore

Judge of Appeal Tay said there were factors to the case that justified Beh's acquittal and the court convicted him of the charge accordingly

Investigations found that Lew's fingerprints and DNA were found on the interior and exterior of the packages, but none from Beh was found.

"Lew was linked inextricably to the drug bundles in the motorcycle. Only his DNA was on the drug bundles, a fact which the prosecution accepted as suggesting that Lew was the person who packed the drugs," said Tay.

"In the unique circumstances here, we are of the view that Beh's account was not inherently incredible," he added.

Even though he was acquitted, Beh will continue to be in remand until the court decides to proceed with four other charges related to the case

Meanwhile, Lew had been arrested and sentenced in July 2018 to seven years in prison for unrelated drug charges. He was not called to testify at Beh's trial.

A Malaysian flight attendant, who was caught smuggling millions of dollars worth of heroin in her underwear, was also shown leniency in Australia:

On the other hand, a High Court here has sentenced a Penangite to death for peddling 208g of cannabis at a food court in Bukit Mertajam:

Read more about Malaysia's drug law that allows and criminalises marijuana at the same time:

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