Soh Rui Yong raises S$41,890 in 2 days to pay S$180,000 Ashley Liew defamation suit damages

Another 75% to hit target.

Belmont Lay | October 01, 2021, 06:32 PM

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Champion marathoner Soh Rui Yong has raised closed to S$42,000 in donations from the public after just two days of fundraising.

A total of 360 donors gave money so far.

The money is to pay off the S$180,000 in damages owed to fellow marathoner Ashley Liew, who successfully sued Soh for defamation.

An update on the fundraising progress was put up on Facebook on Oct. 1.

Don't have that much money on hand

According to Soh, he has resorted to appealing to the public for help as he does not have that much money on hand.

He said he was nudged into asking for public help as Liew's lawyers are demanding that the full sum to be paid immediately, and was seeking an additional S$100,000 in legal costs for work done, despite Soh's decision to appeal against the verdict.

Soh also said via a comment on Facebook that a request for mediation with Liew was not entertained.

In a post a day earlier, Soh wrote that he had managed to raise more than S$26,000 after just one day of fundraising.

In just two days, he managed to raise about a quarter of his target.

Will pay donors back if appeal successful

Soh's initial post appealing for funds was accompanied by a guarantee to donors.

Given that he is appealing the verdict, he said he will return the donated money in the event he is successful in overturning the unfavourable ruling during appeal, an outcome he is confident about achieving having spoken to "a number of legal experts, both from within and outside" his legal team.

Soh wrote:

I will keep a spreadsheet with the details of everybody that has contributed to the cause, and keep you updated. In the event that we completely overturn the verdict on appeal, I will pay every single one of you back.

In the meantime, Soh's crowdfunding effort continues.

Crowdfunding donations

The tactic of turning to the public to crowdfund money to pay off damages awarded to the plaintiff in a high profile defamation case with significant public interest is not new.

Recently, The Online Citizen editor Terry Xu successfully raised S$210,000 in 19 days.

The money was to pay for damages owed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who successfully sued Xu for defamation.

The amount did not include costs to be paid legal work done by the plaintiff's lawyers though.

Xu managed to raise more than S$16,800 on his first day of fundraising.

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Top photo via Soh Rui Yong