SINGAPORE - A man who was initially represented by lawyer Charles Yeo Yao Hui, 31, in a trial has engaged another lawyer, Mr Rajwin Singh Sandhu, to handle his case.
Addressing the court on the 30th day of the trial on Tuesday (Aug 2), the lawyer from Rajwin & Yong said: "The proceedings have to go on."
Kok Chiang Loong, 41, who is accused of offences including playing a role in a purported marriage of convenience, engaged Mr Sandhu after Yeo failed to turn up in court on Monday.
Yeo, who was earlier charged with unrelated offences including multiple counts of harassment and wounding the religious feeling of Christians, was given permission last month to leave Singapore for Vietnam to meet a witness linked to Kok's trial.
Yeo, who is also the former chairman of the Reform Party, was then offered bail of $10,000, with his mother acting as bailor.
He was allowed to leave Singapore last Wednesday and was supposed to return on Saturday.
The court heard on Monday that he was not back in Singapore.
In a post on social media platform Instagram on Saturday, Yeo had stated that he intended to go to the United Kingdom to seek political asylum.
He had said: "I would be with my asylum solicitors and then barristers in processing my political asylum claim under the 1951 Refugee Convention - persecuted on grounds of political opinion.
"I chose after much deliberation to proceed to the UK because I believe that the English courts would be fair and impartial in examining my case."
In a statement on Monday evening, police said they were aware of what Yeo had done and had issued a gazette for his arrest after he breached the conditions of the court for approval for overseas travel.
The police also said they were working with foreign law enforcement counterparts to trace his whereabouts.
In their statement, they said that Yeo did not return to Singapore last Saturday and did not report to an investigation officer on Monday.
They added: "Police received a report from his bailor (last Sunday) informing that he did not return to Singapore (last Saturday) and had been uncontactable.
"Following the report, police attempted to contact Charles Yeo on (Monday) to no avail."
In another Instagram post on Monday, Yeo said that he had briefed Mr Sandhu on Kok's case and had refunded Kok in full.
Yeo's bail review will take place on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Kok's trial continues.
For each count of harassment, an offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.
And for each count of wounding the religious feelings of another person, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.
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