Blogger raises over $70,000 to pay legal fees
BLOGGER Roy Ngerng who has been sued for defamation by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has raised more than $70,000 to fund his legal fees.
He raised the sum in just five days, after publishing an appeal on his blog, The Heart Truths, on May 29.
On the same blog, on May 15, he had implied that Mr Lee had misappropriated Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.
Mr Lee is claiming damages, an injunction to stop Mr Ngerng from defaming him further, and costs.
Mr Ngerng told My Paper yesterday that the money raised had surpassed both his expectations and target.
"I initially didn't expect that funds would come in. I was surprised," the 33-year-old health-care worker said.
He had expected to take at least 10 days, or even weeks, to raise the amount.
The money will go to filing fees, lawyer fees, and to research.
He is being represented by lawyer M. Ravi.
He said that while he will not be actively soliciting funds after this, if he still receives money, he would update the amount on his blog accordingly, and that the excess will will probably go towards the damages he needs to pay.
He had previously offered $5,000 in damages, which was rejected. He does not know yet how much he will have to pay.
Mr Ngerng received the donations, ranging from one cent to $2,000, mostly through bank transfers and some by hand.
He has published the transaction history of the transfers on his blog.
Mr Ngerng was first served a letter of demand by Mr Lee's lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, on May 18. He was asked to take down the posts in question, which he did. He also unreservedly apologised to Mr Lee.
But after that, he republished them and put up a YouTube video.
In a letter dated May 26, Mr Singh asked for four posts and the video to be taken down.
Mr Singh later said Mr Ngerng's subsequent online posts and video showed that his earlier apology "was not and never meant to be genuine".
Mr Ngerng has since taken down the posts and the video.
A pre-trial conference has been set for July 4.