PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian man faces deportation from the United Kingdom after he was unable to prove his claim that he was gay and would face prosecution if sent home.
According to a report by The Guardian, the UK Home Office said it did not believe Yew Fook Sam's claim, suggesting it was suspicious that he did not have a boyfriend.
Yew, 67, had also claimed that he would be persecuted and imprisoned for his sexuality and forced to undergo gay conversion therapy if he returns to Malaysia.
Yew arrived legally in the UK in 2005 on a tourist visa but stayed on.
He claimed he was forced to flee Malaysia after his wife learned that he was gay and took their two children with her to the United States.
Yew said he was unable to live openly as a homosexual man in Malaysia and sought sanctuary in the United Kingdom.
The Guardian reported that Yew also claimed that he suffers from depression and needed to take 20 tablets a day for various conditions.
He said he did not have a boyfriend because he only "came out" two years ago after finding acceptance at St Bride's, an inclusive Christian church in Liverpool.
According to the report, Yew said that he worked and paid taxes until he was arrested 11 years later (in 2016) while working as a takeaway delivery driver in Looe, Cornwall.
He spent 10 months in Harmondsworth detention centre near London, where he claimed asylum.
Yew applied for refugee status, which was refused, and then made an appeal that was rejected by an immigration judge in Manchester last October, who found Yew's claim to be gay as "incredible".
Over 1,000 people have signed a petition demanding the Home Office let him stay, after he lost his final appeal at an immigration tribunal last October.
The Guardian report added that Yew had told the court that the only gay relationship he had in the United Kingdom was with a Chinese man at Harmondsworth, who had been deported as he too had failed to find asylum.
The judge questioned why Yew could not prove any past gay relationships and was told that "he had no relationships between 2005 and 2016".
"The Appellant is unable to produce as a witness a single person in the UK who can vouch for the Appellant in terms of being or having been in a homosexual relationship with him either a loving relationship or a sexual one.
"Given that the Appellant left Malaysia in order to express his sexuality, I find that incredible," said the judge.
Yew now hopes to submit a fresh asylum claim and is being supported by Kieran Bohan, a chaplain at the Liverpool YMCA and network coordinator at Open Table, an ecumenical Christian worship community for LGBT people.
"In addition to him being 67 years old and chronically ill and on very limited income and having English as a second language – all factors which make finding a partner difficult – he is also a Christian, and not every Christian chooses to be in a relationship, particularly in later life," said Bohan.
Yew wants to provide new evidence, including his national insurance card and tax records.
He says these would show that he was not working illegally prior to his arrest in 2016 and would therefore explain why he waited until then to claim asylum based on his homosexuality.