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AFP
April 17, 2021

Singapore activist crowdfunds $108,000 to pay PM libel damages

World

AFP
April 17, 2021

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean activist has raised $108,000 he owes Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in defamation damages, the second time this month a government critic turned to the public to fund payments to the premier. Critics have accused the government of seeking to silence dissent in the tightly regulated city-state through costly libel suits, but activists are fighting back by appealing to the public for donations through social media.

Roy Ngerng, a former government employee, was found guilty in 2014 of defaming Lee after accusing him in a blog of misappropriating state pension funds. He was ordered to pay Lee Sg$150,000 (US$112,000) in damages, which he has been paying in instalments.

Ngerng, who now lives in Taiwan, made online appeals for donations to cover the Sg$144,000 that he still owes the prime minister after another blogger successfully raised a similar amount earlier this month. Ngerng announced on Friday that he met his goal over nine days of crowdfunding, with more than 2,000 people donating.