New day, new life: Malaysian spared the gallows flies home to Penang

Beh Chew Boo with a phone lawyer Wong Siew Hong gave him.

SINGAPORE: “The trip to the airport is metaphoric. I picked him up in darkness. He left me to cross Customs as the sun was rising. New day. New life.”

So remarked Wong Siew Hong, the lawyer who represented Malaysian Beh Chew Boo, 38, who was acquitted of all five charges of bringing drugs to Singapore, escaped the gallows and returned to Malaysia a free man.

“I feel complete. I have done my job. I have done my job as a lawyer, as a man and as a friend,” Wong, a Singaporean, told Bernama at Changi Airport early today.

Beh flew off to Penang a little later.

“It has been a journey that I was allowed to share with him. From the highs to the lows,” said the 60-year-old counsel.

“I learned a lot along the way and I feel privileged that God had chosen to use me as his instrument to deliver Beh from the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” said the partner at Eldan Law LLP.

Beh, who was sentenced to death by the High Court on the eve of Chinese New Year (Jan 25) last year, escaped the noose in October after a three-judge panel of the Singapore Court of Appeal accepted his appeal.

Beh Chiew Boo (right) and lawyer Wong Siew Hong on a shopping trip in Singapore shortly after the Penangite was released.

On March 2, the same panel of judges – Sundaresh Menon, Tay Yong Kwang and Steven Chong – also set aside the prosecution’s application to impose four lighter charges on Beh.

The panel made a 2-1 decision in Beh’s favour.

After Beh’s release from custody, Wong continued to take care of him. For the past 10 days, he provided temporary accommodation for the Malaysian at a hotel, as well as clothing and expenses until all his return arrangements had been completed.

At the departure gate of the airport, Beh was seen bowing before Wong who had proved that his client was innocent in a court battle that stretched for 52 months.

“Here he lies where he often longed to be. Home is the sailor. Home from the sea. And the hunter home from the hill,” Wong was heard saying, quoting from a requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson, as he waved to Beh from behind the glass barrier.