Singaporean blogger and activist Roy Ngerng, who is currently residing in Taiwan, has met his fundraising target for damages to be paid to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after losing a libel suit brought by the latter against him.
In a Facebook post on Friday noon (16 Apr), Mr Ngerng said that he has received S$144,389.14 from contributors as of 11.45 am today.
The damages demanded by PM Lee is S$150,000. S$6,000 was paid by Mr Ngerng himself over the last five years.
Mr Ngerng had previously paid the S$29,000 legal fees and filing costs he was ordered to pay to PM Lee’s lawyers for a summary judgment on the libel case.
His campaign follows the success of veteran blogger and financial adviser Leong Sze Hian, who managed to raise over S$133,000 over 11 days from over 2,000 individuals to pay PM Lee for defamation damages.
Just last month, the High Court ordered Mr Leong to pay PM Lee S$133,000 for defamation, which includes S$100,000 in general damages and S$33,000 in aggravated damages.
The amount of damages was made in reference to Mr Ngerng’s case.
Mr Ngerng’s breakdown of the daily amount raised can be seen in the table below.
A total of 2,097 people had contributed to the crowdfunding initiative.
Addressing supporters of his fundraising campaign, Mr Ngerng said that after seven long years, “you have come together to help me cross this hurdle, and move on into the next chapter of my life”.
“I am grateful and indebted to you, for it is you who has helped lift this burden off my shoulders,” he said, adding that such support has come from people from all walks of life.
Saying that he will be “pay[ing] it forward”, Mr Ngerng said that he will be donating to the fundraising efforts of veteran blogger Leong Sze Hian and TOC chief editor Terry Xu in their libel suits.
Just last week on Easter Sunday, Mr Leong in his crowdfunding initiative had raised the full sum of damages to be paid to PM Lee, after 11 days of fundraising.
Background of Roy Ngerng’s defamation suit
Mr Ngerng was sued by PM Lee in 2014 over an article that he wrote on his blog, “The Heart Truths”.
The blog post, which was published in May 2014, had compared the Government’s usage of CPF monies to the City Harvest Church leaders’ alleged misuse of church funds.
On 17 Dec 2015, the Supreme Court ordered Mr Ngerng to pay S$150,000 in damages to PM Lee for defaming and accusing him of misappropriating government funds. This comprises S$100,000 in general damages and S$50,000 in aggravated damages.
In a settlement deal with PM Lee, Mr Ngerng would pay S$100 a month for five years and S$1,000 a month subsequently in damages awarded until the full sum of S$150,000 is paid.
Previously, Mr Ngerng said that having owed PM Lee a sum of S$144,000, he would have to continue his payment via instalments for the next 12 years until 2033 based on the outstanding sum at the time.
Mr Ngerng, who left Singapore because he could not find a job anymore, notes that the monthly installment of S$1000 is nearly half of his monthly salary.
He shared that he revived his fundraising campaign after being encouraged by his friends and supporters to help him pay off the outstanding amount and remove him from the financial burden that has been hanging over his head since 2016.