Li Shengwu does not admit guilt but will pay $15,000 fine for contempt of court

Mr Li Shengwu said "the true scandal is the misuse of state resources to repress private speech". PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Mr 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 said anything illegal in a private Facebook post.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Aug 11), a day before the fine is due, Mr Li wrote that he has decided to pay the fine "in order to buy some peace and quiet".

"Paying the fine avoids giving the Singapore Government an easy excuse to attack me and my family," he added.

However, Mr Li said "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 added.

Mr Li, an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University living in the United States, was sentenced to a $15,000 fine after the High Court 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 (AGC).

Mr Li is the grandson of founding father Lee Kuan Yew and son of Lee Hsien Yang. He was found guilty over a 2017 private Facebook post where he wrote that the Singapore Government is "very litigious and has a pliant court system".

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

Justice Kannan Ramesh found that Mr 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".

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