SINGAPORE – A warrant of arrest has been issued for lawyer Charles Yeo Yao Hui after he failed to return to Singapore, breaching bail conditions.
District Judge Shawn Ho granted the prosecution’s request for the warrant on Wednesday (Aug 3), adding that Yeo’s bailor, his mother, would be required to be in court on Sept 14 to explain Yeo’s absence.
Yeo, 31, the former chairman of the Reform Party, had been charged with unrelated offences, including multiple counts of harassment and wounding the religious feelings of Christians.
Last month, he was given permission to leave Singapore for Vietnam to meet a witness linked to a trial involving his former client Kok Chiang Loong.
He was then offered bail of $10,000, with his mother acting as bailor.
In a statement on Monday, the police, who had issued a gazette for Yeo’s arrest, said they were aware of social media posts by Yeo saying that he would not be returning to Singapore and would be seeking asylum in the United Kingdom.
The police said they were working with foreign law enforcement counterparts to trace his whereabouts.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Lim told the court on Wednesday that Yeo had been given permission to travel to Vietnam between July 27 and 30.
A screening by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority showed that he had yet to return to Singapore.
DPP Lim said he had breached the conditions of his bail and she asked for it to be revoked and for the warrant of arrest issued.
Also on Wednesday, Ms Victoria Tay from IRB Law applied for the firm’s lawyers, Mr Joshua Chow, Mr Azri Imran Tan and Mr Ashwin Ganapathy, to be discharged from representing Yeo.
She said the lawyers were not aware that Yeo would be departing from his itinerary and would be seeking asylum in the UK.
“We did not know of his absence at any point in time, until after the fact,” said Ms Tay.
The application was granted by District Judge Ho.
On Tuesday, Yeo’s former client Kok, 41, who is accused of offences including playing a role in a purported marriage of convenience, engaged another lawyer after Yeo failed to turn up in court.