Marathoner Soh Rui Yong crowdfunding at least S$180,000 to pay Ashley Liew over defamation suit

He is also appealing against the verdict.

Ashley Tan | September 29, 2021, 09:21 PM

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Singapore champion marathoner Soh Rui Yong announced on Sep. 29 that he will be turning to crowdfunding to help raise funds.

Soh said that he needed the money to pay fellow marathoner Ashley Liew in damages, following a defamation case that spanned two years.

On Sep. 23, it was revealed that the District Court had ordered the 30-year-old to pay 34-year-old Liew S$180,000 in damages.

This amount includes S$120,000 in general damages and S$60,000 in aggravated damages.

Liew had initially sought S$240,000 in general and aggravated damages in equal amounts.

Soh shared in a Facebook post that Liew's lawyers required the S$180,000 to be paid immediately, and are also seeking S$100,000 in legal costs for their work.

Unfortunately, Soh said that he does not have such money on hand, and decided to turn to members of the public for help.

In the meantime, Soh and his lawyers are also filing an appeal.

In the event that the appeal is successful and the verdict overturned, Soh promised to return the money to every person who contributed to the crowdfunding effort.

Background of the case

The long-running dispute between the two former teammates started in June 2019, when Liew filed a defamation claim against Soh.

Liew sued Soh over five statements disputing an act of fair play by Liew, that appeared in the form of two blog posts, two Facebook posts, and one Facebook comment.

During the 2015 SEA Games, Liew said he had slowed down to allow other runners to catch up after they missed a U-turn during the race and took the wrong path.

Liew ended up finishing eighth, while Soh won the race. He later received two awards for his sportsmanship, and was praised by Cabinet ministers.

Soh then alleged on social media that Liew's account of events was untrue.

Before the verdict of the suit, Soh posted on Facebook that he stands by what he said.

District Judge Lee Li Choon said in her written verdict that Liew's evidence is "more objective and consistent" compared to Soh's, The Straits Times reported.

Liew's lawyers, in their submission, accused Soh of "drawing maximum public attention to this case".

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Top photo from Soh Rui Yong / FB