Blogger Roy Ngerng misled PM Lee, public a second time: Davinder Singh

Singapore - Blogger Roy Ngerng has "misled" Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the public a second time and "further aggravated the injury and distress" to Mr Lee by failing to remove a Youtube video as promised, and sending two e-mails sharing links to posts he was to have taken down on Monday, Mr Lee's lawyer said in a letter on Tuesday.

In the letter sent on Tuesday morning, Mr Davinder Singh said Mr Ngerng, 33, had misled the PM and the public for the first time when he apologised last Friday for his May 15 post alleging that CPF funds had been misappropriated, and undertook to remove the post and all links to it and to not make further allegations to the same effect. Mr Ngerng however, had "no intention of honouring them", said Mr Singh.

On Monday, Mr Ngerng misled PM Lee and the public a second time when he promised to remove a YouTube video, but failed to do so. The video, originally uploaded on May 24, was instead made private. This, said Mr Singh, means that Mr Ngerng "continues to make it available to a select group of people".

Mr Lee had on Monday agreed to Mr Ngerng's request that the deadline for him to write in with an offer of damages and costs be extended. That was based on Mr Ngerng's promise to take down four blog posts and a video by 5pm Monday, and not to "further aggravate the injury and distress" to Mr Lee in a similar manner.

The new deadline was 5 pm Wednesday, pushed forward from 5 pm Monday.

But, wrote Mr Singh in his letter on Tuesday, after Mr Lee had agreed to the extension, he learnt of two e-mails sent on Monday -one to local and international media, another to a list of unidentified recipients - which republish the YouTube video and offending posts, "but this time to a far wider audience".

These e-mails also notified the recipients where they could continue reading some of the offending posts after 5 pm on Monday - the deadline for these posts to be taken down.

The e-mails, said Mr Singh, assert that Mr Ngerng's allegation against Mr Lee is "the truth" and that Mr Lee had "complained about the offending posts 'to eliminate the evidence of corruption'" from Mr Ngerng's blog The Heart Truths.

That Mr Ngerng "misled everyone about his promise to remove the Youtube video amounts to very grave aggravation", wrote Mr Singh. And if the e-mails were sent by Mr Ngerng, that would be yet further aggravation.

Mr Singh has asked Mr Ngerng's lawyer M. Ravi to write in by 5 pm on Tuesday to explain whether he knew that Mr Ngerng did not intend to remove and/or did not remove the YouTube video, whether Mr Ngerng did indeeed send either or both offending e-mails and to whom, and whether he knew Mr Ngerng had intended to send them.

Mr Lee reserves his rights to recover aggravated damages, said Mr Singh.

Meanwhile, Mr Ngerng also sent a lawyer's letter on Tuesday offering to pay Mr Lee $5,000 in damages. He also stressed that his apology made on May 23 was genuine, and proposed each party bear their own legal costs.

The $5,000 sum for damages is based on Mr Ngerng's "modest living and income" as a healthcare worker, Mr Ravi said in the letter.

Mr Ravi added that Mr Ngerng now realised that in his efforts to bring out for public discussion what he saw as a "matters of legitimate enquiry", he had allowed his judgement to be "clouded".