Charles Yeo, 31, wanted by S'pore police after flying to UK to seek 'political asylum' when he should've returned as per bail conditions

He was to return to Singapore on July 30.

Belmont Lay | August 02, 2022, 03:28 AM

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Charles Yeo, 31, a Singaporean lawyer and opposition politician, is wanted by the Singapore police.

This was after he failed to return to Singapore from Vietnam on July 30 and instead went to the United Kingdom, effectively breaching court conditions that approved his travel overseas for work while on bail.

Police announced Yeo's wanted status publicly

Yeo's wanted status was disclosed by the Singapore police in a news release on Aug. 1, CNA and The Straits Times reported.

The authorities said they are working with foreign law enforcement counterparts to trace Yeo’s whereabouts and have issued a gazette for Yeo’s arrest following his abscondment.

Yeo, whose full name is Charles Yeo Yao Hui, had obtained permission from the court to travel to Vietnam for work.

But he flew to the UK instead of returning to Singapore.

What happened

According to the police release, the State Courts on July 20 granted Yeo permission to travel to Vietnam for work between July 27 and 30.

The police said Yeo reported to the investigation officer on July 26 to collect his passport, provide his travel itinerary, and furnish additional bail with his bailor before his departure on July 27.

The conditions of Yeo's application to leave Singapore required him to report to the investigation officer on Aug. 1 at 6pm to surrender his passport upon coming back.

The former Reform Party chairman did not return on July 30.

The police said they received a report from his bailor on July 31 informing them that Yeo did not return to Singapore on July 30 and had been uncontactable.

The police added that "he did not report to the investigation officer on Aug. 1" and attempted to contact Yeo that day but to no avail.

The police issued a police gazette for Yeo’s arrest as he had breached the conditions for the court’s approval of his overseas travel.

What Yeo said so far

Even though Yeo was uncontactable by the police and his bailor, he remained publicly accessible on Instagram, where he has been consistently posting content on.

Yeo said in a series of Instagram Stories on Saturday, July 30, that he was seeking “political asylum” in the United Kingdom, in what was a bombshell disclosure.

"This is a very painful and difficult decision for me to make," he said.

"I had left everything behind."

He said his girlfriend, close friends and lawyers were not privy to his decision to seek asylum.

He even claimed he will not get a fair trial in Singapore and his legal problems are "attacks against a young political activist" and "politically motivated".

This announcement came after he had previously made repeated claims over the past few months that criminal charges against him are "politically motivated".

Yeo apologised to his lawyers, Ashwin Ganapathy and Azri Tan.

In reference to them, he wrote: “I believe that if the court was impartial, they would be able to vindicate me easily but I don’t think even the best lawyer can do anything in politically motivated cases.”

Yeo also claimed he “did not embezzle a single cent”.

CNA reported that the police are aware of social media posts by Yeo.

Yeo facing charges and under investigation for other offences

Yeo was charged in January 2022 as he had allegedly harassed a police officer and wounded the religious feelings of Christians.

These offences were allegedly due to a number of social media posts he had put up online.

The police added that Yeo is also on police bail as he is currently under investigation for separate offences of alleged criminal breach of trust by an attorney and forgery offences.

Complaints were lodged against Whitefield Law Corporation, where Yeo was a former partner.

One of Yeo's lawyer, Ganapathy from IRB Law, said his client never told him about the plan to go to UK, CNA reported.

The lawyer said he will discharge himself as the defence counsel.

Yeo stepped down as chairman of his party following his arrest in January 2022.

He was part of the Reform Party's five-member team to contest in Ang Mo Kio GRC in the 2020 General Election against a team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Yeo dabbled in the non-fungible token space in March 2022 to raise funds for his legal troubles.

His candid and no-holds-barred narrowcasting of his views on social media has seen engage and win fans, as well as spawned detractors in equal measure.

Top photos via CNA YouTube & Charles Yeo Instagram