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Blogger's offer of $5,000 in damages 'derisory': PM Lee's lawyers

Lawyers representing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong say blogger Roy Ngerng's offer of S$5,000 in damages for false allegations are derisory and completely disregarding the gravity of Mr Ngerng's conduct.

SINGAPORE: Lawyers for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have today (May 27) responded to blogger Roy Ngerng's offer of S$5,000 in damages, calling it "derisory" and completely disregarding the gravity of Mr Ngerng's "calculated and systematic aggravation".

Mr Ngerng had offered the damages for the earlier post on his blog "the Heart Truths" (dated May 15), which accused Mr Lee of misappropriating money paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.

Mr Lee's lawyers said Mr Ngerng purported to apologise on May 23 for putting forth an allegation that the blogger admitted was "false and completely without foundation", but that this apology was "completely insincere", as he had republished various posts thereafter, as well as a YouTube video, repeating the libel.

In addition, he emailed a link to the YouTube video he had reportedly taken down to a wide audience of local and international media, and had also sent out other links to various "offending posts".

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh wrote in a letter to Mr Ngerng's lawyer: "It is clear that your client has always known that the allegation of criminal misappropriation against our client is false, but chose nonetheless to publish it in a sensational manner, so as to raise his public profile and to gain support."

Mr Ngerng's lawyer, M Ravi, was given a 5pm deadline today to explain his client's "outrageous conduct".

In a letter obtained by MediaCorp, Mr Ravi said his client sincerely apologises for his "momentary lapse of judgement".

Mr Ravi also said in his letter to Mr Singh: "For the avoidance of any doubt, we reiterate that we had no knowledge of the dissemination of the emails and in fact had no knowledge of them until we had sight of your letter."

Mr Ravi said he has advised his client to stop any action that will aggravate the injury and distress to Mr Lee.
 

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