AGC to file lawsuit against Li Shengwu for contempt of court over Facebook post



The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it will file an application in the High Court on Friday (Aug 4) to begin proceedings against Li Shengwu, the nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, for contempt of court.

Shengwu had on July 15 criticised the Singapore court system on his personal Facebook page.

According to the AGC, a warning letter had been issued to Shengwu on July 21 over his Facebook post. The AGC had asked Shengwu to purge the contemptuous comment on his page and post an apology by 5pm on July 28.

On July 27, Shengwu wrote to the AGC to request an extension until Aug 4 at 5pm which the AGC agreed.

However on August 4, while Shengwu has amended the incriminating post, he did not apologise to the AGC as he believes that what he said was not contempt of court.

“It is not my intent to attack the Singapore judiciary or to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice. Any criticism I made is of the Singapore government’s litigious nature, and its use of legal rules and actions to stifle the free press…However, to avoid any misunderstanding of my original private post, I have amended the post so as to clarify my meaning.”

– Li Shengwu

As Shengwu did not comply with AGC’s demands, the AGC will file an application in the High Court for leave to commence committal proceedings against him for contempt of court.

The AGC’s statement is reproduced below:

The Attorney-General’s Chambers will today file an application in the High Court for leave to commence committal proceedings against Mr Li Shengwu for contempt of court in connection with the publication of a Facebook post.

On 15 July 2017, Mr Li posted on his Facebook page the following: “If you’ve been watching the latest political crisis in Singapore from a distance, but would like a summary, this is a good one. (Keep in mind, of course, that the Singapore government is very litigious and has a pliant court system. This constrains what the international media can usually report.

The Post contained a link to an April 2010 editorial published by the New York Times, entitled “Censored in Singapore”.

Mr Li’s Post was republished widely in Singapore after it was posted. On 21 July 2017, the AGC issued a letter of warning to Mr Li about the Post. In our letter, the AGC had asked that Mr Li purge the contempt, by doing the following by 5 pm on 28 July 2017:

(a) delete and remove the Post from his Facebook page and any other social/online media and other documents in his possession, custody or control;
(b) issue and post prominently a written apology and undertaking in the terms stated in the AGC’s letter on his Facebook page.

On 27 July 2017, Mr Li wrote to the AGC to request an extension of time till 5 pm on 4 August 2017 to respond to the AGC’s letter. The AGC agreed to Mr Li’s request on the same day.

As Mr Li has failed to purge the contempt and to apologise by the extended deadline, an application for leave to commence committal proceedings for contempt against him will today be filed in the High Court.

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