For technician M Karthigesu, it’s the 7th Deepavali without Hemakavin, who he says was jailed in Cambodia after being duped.
PETALING JAYA: For technician M Karthigesu it’s the seventh Deepavali celebrated by his family without his son Hemakavin.
“His mother is patiently waiting for him to come home,” Karthigesu told FMT.
His son, then 19, was sentenced to a Cambodian prison for 25 years in 2016 after he was convicted of drug trafficking.
Karthigesu said his son had been duped by a drug-trafficking syndicate when he travelled to Phnom Penh in 2016 with his girlfriend, her sister and the sister’s boyfriend
Earlier this year, Karthigesu sought Putrajaya’s help to repatriate Hemakavin, but to no avail.
Karthigesu said Deepavali eve used to be a lively affair with Hemakavin having his friends at their home in Klang. Hemakavin, the eldest of three siblings, looked forward to the festival as it meant he could visit his relatives.
But that all changed in October 2016 after Hemakavin was arrested in Phnom Penh.
The Festival of Lights, once ushered in by Hemakavin’s joviality, was dampened by gloom.
“We didn’t celebrate Deepaval in 2017, and just stayed at home. We were so sad and the whole family cried on that day.
“In the following years, we slowly allowed ourselves to celebrate Deepavali modestly. It will be the same this year,” Karthigesu said.
Hemakavin’s absence led to his mother slipping into depression, as did Karthigesu for a short while after his son’s arrest.
A picture on a wall in Hemakavin’s room, drawn at the age of five that reads “Dad, my hero. You are the best”, encourages Karthigesu to remain strong for himself and his family.
A phone call from Hemakavin is a double-edged sword. While it means he can hear his son’s voice, it also crushes him.
“Every time we speak on the phone, I break down. But he assures me that one day he’ll come back. Maybe he says that to console me,” he said, adding that the last time he spoke with his son was early this year.
He said Hemakavin had been duped when he was arrested in Phnom Penh. He was told by his companions to check in at a hotel, where they said they would meet him later on the pretext that they had to resolve matters pertaining to their flight tickets.
However, before Hemakavin entered the hotel room, he was ambushed by Cambodian police, Karthigesu said.
He alleged that the police passed Hemakavin a box containing drugs and took a picture of him holding the box, and produced his fingerprints on the box as evidence in court.