ICA refutes claims of seizing Lee Hsien Yang’s passport amidst disciplinary tribunal for late Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer

ICA refutes claims of seizing Lee Hsien Yang’s passport amidst disciplinary tribunal for late Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer

Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) clarified on Wednesday (17 May) that the passport of Mr Lee Hsien Yang, son of the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), remains valid and has never been seized.

This statement from the ICA was issued in response to media inquiries about findings from a disciplinary tribunal for Madam Kwa Kim Li, who served as the lawyer for the late LKY.

The tribunal report, which was released on 5 May, indicated that Mr Lee Hsien Yang had applied to present evidence via video link, citing that his passport was being held by immigration authorities due to an immigration issue.

The ICA clarified, “His passport remains valid today and was never in ICA’s possession during and after Mdm Kwa Kim Li’s disciplinary tribunal hearing.”

The disciplinary tribunal (DT) found Mdm Kwa guilty of failing to uphold LKY’s confidentiality while handling his will and of misleading the executors of his will, who are also his children, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, through email responses to their inquiries.

The two charges from the Law Society against Mdm Kwa relate to a breach of confidentiality and misconduct.

Mdm Kwa disclosed confidential client information to parties not entitled to receive it, namely Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the executors’ elder brother and the Prime Minister of Singapore, through two emails sent on 4 and 22 June of 2015.

Additionally, she is accused of failing to disclose her communications with LKY between November 2013 and 13 December 2013, regarding his intentions to change his will dated 2 November 2012.

The tribunal also discovered that her claim, stating LKY never instructed her to change his will, was false.

Mdm Kwa was fined S$13,000 and ordered to pay costs and disbursements to Mr Lee Hsien Yang and The Law Society of Singapore.

Currently, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern, are not in Singapore.

Their absence was announced when Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean disclosed in a written parliamentary reply that the police have begun investigations into Mr and Mrs Lee for potential offences of giving false evidence in judicial proceedings.

Mr Teo shared that Mr and Mrs Lee had a change of heart and refused to attend the police interview.

He added that the police advised them to reconsider participating in the investigations, but they have since left Singapore and remain out of the country.

After deliberation, the tribunal granted Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s request to provide evidence via video link. However, it expressed its disturbance at his “refusal to give reasons why and the circumstances under which he did not have possession of his passport”.

Mothership earlier reported ICA having seized LHY’s passport

Among the various media outlets reporting on this matter, only Lianhe Zaobao and Mothership highlighted the passport issue referenced in the DT’s report.

Mothership, drawing on Lianhe Zaobao’s report and translation, initially reported that Mr Lee Hsien Yang was expected to attend the hearing in person and further claimed that “ICA seized his passport”, prompting him to request to give evidence through video link – a point that Lianhe Zaobao did not mention in its report.

After being made aware of the error, Mothership subsequently amended its report.

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