Lee Hsien Yang puts up $20k deposit for activist's court appeal

Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has put up $20,000 as a security deposit for activist Jolovan Wham to appeal against his contempt of court conviction.

In a Twitter post yesterday morning, Mr Wham wrote that Mr Lee Hsien Yang reached out to him and offered to put up the deposit for costs on his behalf. "I'm grateful to him for his generosity," he said.

In April, Mr Wham and opposition politician John Tan were each fined $5,000 by the High Court for scandalising the judiciary in separate posts on Facebook.

Mr Wham was also ordered to pay $7,298 in legal costs and disbursements to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), while Mr Tan was ordered to pay $6,966.

Mr Wham had made a Facebook post on April 27 last year stating that Singapore's courts are not as independent as Malaysia's in cases with political implications.

His post included a link to an online article, "Malaysiakini mounts constitutional challenge against Anti-Fake News Act". The Attorney-General then initiated contempt of court action against him.

Lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, who is representing Mr Wham for free, said the money was sent to his firm's client account on May 16. "I was told it was for Jolovan's security for costs of the appeal," he said.


Mr Wham said his lawyers had told him about the deposit, and that Mr Lee Hsien Yang did not give any reasons. But the depositing of the money "did not come as a surprise to me", Mr Wham added.

Those who appeal against a High Court decision are required to put up a deposit, which they may not be able to recover if they lose.

Last year, Mr Lee Hsien Yang also donated what he called a "meaningful sum" to blogger Leong Sze Hian, who is facing a defamation suit from PM Lee.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, had a falling out with PM Lee over the fate of the house at 38 Oxley Road, the residence of their late father, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'Hsien Yang puts up $20k deposit for activist's court appeal'. Print Edition | Subscribe