Roy Ngerng To Pay Lee Hsien Loong Damages In Installments Over 17 Years

Blogger Roy Ngerng will pay S$100 a month for five years, and S$1,000 a month subsequently in damages awarded to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation until the full sum of S$150,000 is paid.

In a hearing on Monday morning (March 14) to assess the damages, the lawyers of Mr Ngerng and Mr Lee reached a settlement in relation to the terms of payment of the judgement sum, Mr Ngerng’s lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam told TODAY.

Mr Thuraisingam said both sides had agreed late last week on terms to settle the costs payable (S$30,000) for the assessment of damages hearing, which Mr Ngerng has to pay by Wednesday.

No interest would need to be paid if Mr Ngerng makes each payment on time, said Mr Thuraisingam, who is acting on a pro bono basis. “In the event that he breaches the terms of the agreement (i.e fails to make any one of the payments), the full amount outstanding plus Court Judgment interest will be immediately payable,” the lawyer added in an email reply.

It would take 17 years for Mr Ngerng to pay the damages in full.

In December last year, a High Court judge ordered Mr Ngerng to pay Mr Lee S$150,000 for alleging that the latter had criminally misappropriated Central Provident Fund monies. While past defamation cases involving Prime Ministers have attracted damages in excess of S$300,000, Justice Lee Seiu Kin said a “substantial reduction” in this case was warranted, given the blogger’s “comparatively low standing”.

Mr Ngerng had earlier been found guilty of defaming Mr Lee, and in a three-day hearing in July to assess damages, Mr Lee’s lawyer Davinder Singh made the case for “substantial damages” to be awarded. The case stands out for the “depth and intensity” of Mr Ngerng’s malice towards Mr Lee and his resolve to damage Mr Lee’s reputation, thus warranting a “very high award of damages”, Mr Singh had said.

In response to media queries, Mr Lee’s press secretary Chang Li Lin confirmed that Mr Ngerng “had asked to be let off by paying only S$36,000 out of the costs plus S$150,000 in damages”. “The PM had responded to say that (Mr Ngerng) had to discharge his entire debt, but that he was prepared to give (him) time to pay the S$150,000 by instalments, provided (he) paid the costs immediately,” Ms Chang said. Mr Ngerng agreed and this was recorded by the Court, she added.



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