Li Shengwu responds after AGC takes contempt of court action against him
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The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has filed an application in the High Court for leave to commence committal proceedings against Li Shengwu for contempt of court.
This was after Li put up a July 15 Facebook post criticising the Singapore court system as “pliant” and he did not remove the post, even after the AGC served him a warning letter on July 21 to do so.
The original post that Li posted was set to “friends only” in Facebook’s privacy settings and linked to a 2010 editorial published by the New York Times, titled “Censored in Singapore”.
Li is the eldest son of Lee Hsien Yang.
Asked to apologise
The AGC also asked Li to “issue and post prominently” a written apology and undertaking in the terms stated in AGC’s letter on his Facebook page.
In other words, Li was told to remove the post and publish a public apology, according to the terms issued, but he did not comply.
Li wrote another Facebook post
Instead of apologising and removing his post, Li wrote another Facebook post clarifying his intentions.
He acknowledged that he had received the “threatening” letter and reiterated that his post did not attack the Singapore judiciary.
“However, to avoid any misunderstanding of my original private post, I have amended the post so as to clarify my meaning,” he wrote.
He said the post that caught the AGC’s attention was posted without the intention of it being seen by the general public, as the post was set to “friends only” on Facebook.
Extension given by AGC
According to the AGC, Li was initially given until 5pm on July 28 to apologise and remove his post.
But he wrote back a day before the deadline to request an extension until 5pm on Aug. 4, to which the AGC allowed.
The deadline passed and Li did not accede to the AGC’s demands.
New post by Li
In light of the AGC’s announcement to take action against him, Li has since responded to the latest development with this Facebook post:
Here’s the AGC Media Release statement published on Aug. 4:
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (“AGC”) 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 (url:www.facebook.com/li.shengwu01) 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 – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/opinion/04pubed.html)” (“the Post”). 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; and
(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.
Top photo via Prime Minister’s Office YouTube