Ex-drug trafficker who was almost hanged becomes boss of million-dollar furniture empire

Chen was 26-year-old when he was first caught trafficking drugs, and was almost sentenced to hang.

In a stroke of luck, he escaped the gallows, but was imprisoned for 20 years for his crimes, and offered a second chance in life, reports Lianhe Wanbao via Lianhe Zaobao

The man had since decided to turn his life around,studying hard and becoming the owner of a multi-million dollar furniture business. 

Now 55 years old, Chen and his business associates run a furniture enterprise valued at more than S$5,000,000. 

Recounting his experience, Chen said: "I was 26 years old then.

"It was my first offence at trafficking drugs and I was caught immediately.

"I thought to myself then that it was all over. I was going to die for sure."

Chen told reporters that he first joined a secret society when he was 14 years old. 

Said Chen: "I was causing trouble all day long. Fighting, drinking, gambling and even taking drugs.

"I earned a lot of money through the vices, but ultimately, I still owed loansharks a huge debt. I had to smuggle drugs just to pay them back."

Chen faced a charge of trafficking more than 10g of heroine, and if found guilty, faced the death sentence.

He thought that he would not make it out alive, but a fortuitous point of suspicion on the part of the prosecutor saw his sentence lowered to a 20-year imprisonment, with the deduction of four years and three months from detention. 

Chen was already 40 years old when he was released from prison. 

He added: "I lost so much time just like that, and caused my family a lot of grief.

"I decided to make something of myself after I came out of prison, and studied hard. I got my O-Level, A-Level, and an enterprise management professional certificate."

He joined a friend’s furniture company after his release and after working for a year, was promoted to a partner on the board of directors.

Chen also met the love of his life through work.

Looking back, Chen commented: "It has not been easy all these years. I want to thank my family and friends for not giving up on me, and always helping me."

Now Chen actively participates in initiatives to help other ex-convicts. He serves as a counsellor in halfway houses and prisons. Chen hopes to use his experience to guide them back on track.