Singapore Blogger Raises $ 99,000 To Pay Defamation Damages


FILE PHOTO: Financial advisor and blogger Leong Sze Hian (right), along with his lawyer Lim Tean, leave the High Court on the first day of their defamation hearing in Singapore on October 6, 2020. REUTERS / Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A Singaporean blogger said on Monday he had raised S $ 133,000 ($ 98,840) through social media crowdfunding to cover damages that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was ordered to pay in a defamation case filed. by the leader of the city-state.

Lee had sued Leong Sze Hian, a financial adviser, after he shared an online news article on Facebook that linked the prime minister to a financial scandal at Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB.

Lee’s attorneys have said those links were “false and unsubstantiated.” Leong had removed the November 2018 Facebook post within three days of sharing it, complying with a government request.

On March 24, the Singapore High Court ordered Lee to pay S $ 133,000.

“I am very happy, very grateful,” he told Reuters on Monday.

Leong made the announcement on Facebook late on Sunday, when he posted: “It’s finished. All paid. “

As the head of a government that has promised zero tolerance for corruption, Lee, 69, is no stranger to seeking to protect his reputation through legal channels.

High-ranking figures from the ruling People’s Action Party, including Lee’s late father and the founder of present-day Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, have previously sued foreign media, political opponents and online commentators for defamation.

($ 1 = 1.3456 Singapore dollars)

Report by Aradhana Aravindan; Edited by Martin Petty

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