Singapore

Li Shenwu will pay fine, but denies guilt for contempt of court

Dr Li Shengwu has said he will pay a $15,000 fine for contempt of court, but he does not admit guilt and disagrees that he has said anything illegal in a private Facebook post.

In a Facebook post yesterday, he wrote that he has decided to pay the fine "in order to buy some peace and quiet". Dr Li said: "Paying the fine avoids giving the Singapore Government an easy excuse to attack me and my family."

The fine is due today.

Dr Li added: "The true scandal is the misuse of state resources to repress private speech.

"In the course of this three-year prosecution, the Singapore Attorney-General's Chambers has written thousands of pages of legal documents, suppressed parts of my defence affidavit, and demanded that I reveal to them all of my friends on Facebook," he said.

Dr Li, a Harvard University assistant professor of economics living in the US, was sentenced to a $15,000 fine after the High Court here found him guilty of contempt of court last month.

He was ordered to pay the fine within two weeks or serve a default sentence of one week's jail. He was also ordered to pay $8,500 for legal costs and $8,070.69 for disbursements to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Dr Li is the grandson of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and the son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang, who is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's brother.

Dr Li was found guilty over a 2017 private Facebook post in which he wrote that the Singapore Government is "very litigious and has a pliant court system".

His post also included a link to a 2010 New York Times editorial that criticised his grandfather for running "an authoritarian regime" that cowed critics through libel actions.

Justice Kannan Ramesh found that Dr Li's post "conveys the meaning that the judiciary is not independent and impartial, and is susceptible to influence or pressure from the Government where legal proceedings are brought by its leaders". - THE STRAITS TIMES

COURT & CRIME