Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Blogger to pay PM Lee libel damages over 17 years

Update 22 April 2016: RSF - Singapore Press Freedom worsen to 154th because of TRS and Roy Ngerng

Reporters without Borders (RSF) yesterday (April 22) published a damning report on Singapore’s press freedom with specific reference to the political persecution of The Real Singapore and defamation suit against Roy Ngerng. RSF lambaste Singapore’s censorship board, the Media Devlopment Authority (MDA), and the country’s oppressive censorship laws for repressing journalism in Singapore. You may view the official statement here.

“The Media Development Authority Act, the Films Act and the Broadcasting Act empower the Media Development Authority (MDA) to censor journalistic content, including online content. In April 2015, this government agency ordered the closure of The Real Singapore (TRS) news website because of content regarded as overly critical. Two of its alleged contributors were accused of “sedition,” which is punishable by 21 years in prison. Defamation suits are common in the city-state and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has personally brought prosecutions against bloggers.”

Earlier this year, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was awarded S$150,000 in damages for a defamation lawsuit he won in a default judgment against an online blogger who criticised him and his wife for conflict of interests. Lee Hsien Loong is both the Prime Minister and Chairman of the country’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) company, GIC Pte Ltd. His wife, Ho Ching, is the CEO of Singapore’s other SWF company, Temasek Holdings. The two SWF companies borrow the country’s CPF fund at cheap interest rates as low as 2.5% under legislation approved by the Prime Minister himself, while reaping undisclosed profits from their investment returns.

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Blogger who lost libel suit makes 1st payment to PM
An activist blogger who must pay libel damages in installments over the next 17 years to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made an initial payment Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Roy Ngerng, 34, a former government employee, forked out SG$30,000 (US$22,000) to pay the cost of a special hearing last July at which the libel damages were assessed.

He must pay another SG$150,000 in actual damages over a 17-year period under a deal announced Monday.

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Ngerng to pay S$150k damages in instalments, starting with S$100 from next month

Blogger Roy Ngerng will pay S$100 a month for 5 years, and S$1,000 a month subsequently, in damages awarded to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation until the full sum of S$150,000 is paid.

In a hearing on Monday (Mar 14) to assess the damages, the lawyers of Ngerng and Mr Lee reached a settlement in relation to the terms of payment of the judgment sum, Ngerng’s lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said.

Mr Thuraisingam said both sides had agreed late last week on terms to settle the costs payable (S$30,000) for the assessment of damages hearing, which Ngerng has to pay by Wednesday.


Singapore blogger to pay PM Lee libel damages

A 34-year-old Singaporean blogger ordered to pay USD 109,000 in damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defaming him today struck a deal to make payments in instalments over the span of 17 years.

Roy Ngerng, a former health care coordinator at a hospital here, had written a blogpost in May 2014 allegedly accusing him of misappropriating state pension funds.

On December 17 last year, the Supreme Court ordered Ngerng to pay 150,000 Singaporean dollars (USD 109,000) in damages to Lee, 64, for defamation. This comprises 100,000 dollars in general damages and 50,000 dollars in aggravated damages.


related: Singapore Court orders local blogger to pay damages to PM Lee


Blogger in scramble to pay off PM

An activist blogger ordered to pay S$150,000 (HK$845,540) in libel damages to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make payments in installments over the next 17 years, his lawyer said yesterday.

Roy Ngerng, 34, a former government employee, was found guilty in November 2014 of defaming Lee after accusing him in a blog of misappropriating state pension funds.

Ngerng's lawyer, Eugene Thuraisingam, said that under an agreement with Lee, his client would pay S$30,000 by tomorrow to cover the costs of an assessment hearing.


Singapore blogger to pay $109,000 in libel damages to PM over 17 years

An activist blogger ordered to pay US $109,000 in libel damages to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make payments in instalments over the next 17 years, his lawyer said on Monday.

Roy Ngerng, 34, a former government employee, was found guilty in November 2014 of defaming Lee after accusing him in a blog of misappropriating state pension funds. Ngerng's lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam told AFP that under an agreement with the prime minister, his client would pay Sg dollars 30,000 by Wednesday to cover the costs of an assessment hearing.

To pay the actual damages he would then fork out US $100 a month for the next five years before the amount increases to USD 1,000 a month until the amount is paid, which would take a total of 17 years.


Roy Ngerng has to pay PM Lee $150k, makes a public call for donations - again

This morning, news broke about blogger Roy Ngerng's payment terms to PM Lee. To recap, he has to pay $150,000 over the course of 17 years, starting with $100 a month for five years.

And that's on top of the $30,000 he must fork out by this Wednesday to cover the cost of the Assessment of Damages hearing.
 
His immediate reaction was to put up a Facebook post chronicling his experiences over the past 2 years. "I should have been careful with how I say things. I am thankful to have reached the settlement with the prime minister," he declared.

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Roy Ngerng to pay damages for defamation to PM Lee over 17 years

The lawyers of blogger, Roy Ngerng and Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong reached a settlement in relation to the terms of payment of the judgement sum at a hearing on Monday (14 March) to assess the damages.

Ngerng was accused of writing a blogpost in May 2014 allegedly comparing the Government’s usage of CPF monies to the City Harvest Church leaders’ alleged misuse of church funds.

On 17 December last year, the Supreme Court ordered Ngerng to pay S$150,000 in damages to Mr Lee for defamation. This comprises S$100,000 in general damages and S$50,000 in aggravated damages.
 

Singapore blogger to pay more than Dh400,000 in libel damages to PM over 17 years

An activist blogger, who was ordered to pay $150,000 Singaporean dollars (Dh400,404) in libel damages to Singapore prime pinister Lee Hsien Loong, will make payments in instalments over the next 17 years, his lawyer said Monday.

Roy Ngerng, 34, a former government employee, was found guilty in November 2014 of defaming Mr Lee after accusing him in a blog of misappropriating state pension funds.

Mr Ngerng’s lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said that under an agreement with the prime minister, his client would pay Sgd$30,000 by Wednesday to cover the costs of an assessment hearing.


Blogger Roy Ngerng appeals for public donations to cover $180K damages and costs

Hello everyone, this is an update to the defamation suit with the prime minister.

I have to pay a total of S$180,000. (I have to pay him S$150,000 in damages and S$30,000 for the costs of the hearing.)
  • I have to pay S$30,000 by this Wednesday.
  • From April 1, I have to pay $100 every month for 5 years.
  • After 5 years, from 2021, I have to pay $1,000 every month until I finish paying.

Besieged Singaporean Blogger Again Turns to Crowdfunding
The defendant - Hit with crippling libel fines, Roy Ngerng looks to the public for help

Nearly two years ago, a now-34-year-old Singaporean blogger named Roy Ngerng intimated in his “Heart Truths” blog that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had diverted money from the country’s central provident fund.

In doing so, he unleashed a whirlwind that has cost him his job, got him sued for criminal libel and demonstrated the ominous power of the Lee family when its members believe they have been maligned. Barring unexpected windfalls, he will be paying the prime minister until he is 57 years old.

Ngerng became the first blogger to be sued in Singapore, joining a long list of international newspapers and magazines that have faced the wrath of the Lee family. As it has become clearer that Singapore’s courts are notoriously determined to back the Lees and the government, news organizations have meekly knuckled under, paid the fines and refrained from any critical reporting on the country.
 
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ICJ deplores S’pore govt’s practice of civil defamation suits to silence critics

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights non-governmental organization, has issued a statement on Roy Ngerng’s case condemning the Singapore Government’s practice of civil defamation suits to silence critics. We reproduce their statement in full:
  • Today, blogger Roy Ngerng will start making payments to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong following a civil defamation suit brought in 2014. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) reiterates that we deplore this practice by the Singapore government of using exorbitant and punitive civil defamation suits to silence its critics.
  • Under terms of payment, Roy Ngerng will be paying the Prime Minister damages for the next several years of his life. This is unconscionable and clearly meant to cast a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Singapore.
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Blogger asked to remove defamatory post about PM Lee

The decision of the High Court of Singapore ordering blogger Roy Ngerng to pay damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong following a civil defamation suit brought in 2014 constitutes a major blow for freedom of expression in the country, said the ICJ today.
 
In a judgment released on 17 December 2015, the High Court ordered Roy Ngerng to pay SG$100,000 in general damages (approximately US$70,667) and SG$50,000 (approximately US$35,330) in aggravated damages.
 
This decision comes approximately six months after a three-day hearing on assessment of damages took place.