More than 30 years after he jumped bail and fled the country, former Member of Parliament and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) chairman Phey Yew Kok finally decided to turn himself in.
The 81-year-old Phey – who was the People’s Action Party’s MP for Boon Teck Constituency from 1972 to 1980 – gave himself up at the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok on Monday (Jun 22). TODAY understands that he was alone when he presented himself.
On Tuesday, Phey was accompanied back to Singapore by Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) officers and he made his first appearance in a Singapore court after almost 36 years on Wednesday.
ROSE THROUGH THE RANKS
Born in 1934, Phey Yew Kok worked to support himself through school. Educated in the Chinese stream before switching to an English-stream secondary school, he was proficient in Mandarin, which helped him rise through the ranks as a unionist.
He was an accounts clerk with Malaysia-Singapore Airlines before he joined the Singapore Air Transport Union. Elected a member in 1960, he became treasurer before he rose to the post of president in 1968.
In 1970, he was appointed president of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). That same year, he was also elected general secretary of the Singapore Industrial Labour Organisation (SILO) and general secretary of the Pioneer Industries Employees’ Union (PIEU).
He became NTUC chairman on May 25, 1979.
In 1972, he contested the General Election under the People’s Action Party banner and was elected Member of Parliament for Boon Teck constituency.
In 1979, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau investigated Phey for malpractices in the PIEU and SILO. In December that year, he was arrested and charged. He was released on bail of about S$100,000 with two sureties.
A hearing was fixed for Jan 7, 1980, but Phey never showed up.
Investigations later revealed that Phey had left Singapore for Kuala Lumpur by train on Dec 31, 1979, and proceeded to Bangkok where he disappeared, leaving behind a wife and three children.
Other than Phey, 10 others were charged for their involvement in the offences. Nine were convicted, while one was acquitted.