Oops – Singapore PM’s nephew says will not return home to face charges

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SINGAPORE: Mr Li Shengwu, who will face contempt of court procedures for remarks he made recommending the city-state’s courts were not independent, stated on Saturday (Aug 5) he would not be returning to Singapore.

The workplace of Singapore’s attorney-general said on Friday it had filed an application to begin contempt of court proceedings against Li, a US-based academic, over a Facebook post he made on Jul 15. The legal move is the latest twist in a bad blood over the fate of late Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew’s home that grasped the nation last month.

In his post, Mr Li, nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and eldest child of Lee’s sibling, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, explained the Singapore Government as “litigious” and the courts as “pliant”.

Li, 32, is presently a junior fellow at Harvard University and informed Reuters he expected to start an assistant professor position with the university in the fall of 2018.
He said he would seek to defend himself through legal representation in Singapore but would not be returning to the nation.
” I have no intention of going back to Singapore. I have a happy life and a fulfilling job in the United States,” he informed Reuters in an interview.

Mr Li on Saturday (Aug 5) likewise posted on Facebook his reply to AGC on Aug 4, repeating that the Jul 15 post was set as personal. In his letter, he stated that a confidential Facebook user posted publicly an unauthorised screen shot of his post.
” This user is not on my Facebook ‘Friends’ list,” he stated. “I do unknown how this user obtained the screenshot of my personal post.”

To this newest post, the AGC replied on Saturday stating it got the document after the extended due date of 5pm on Aug 4. “The AGC notes that the file does not purport to comply with our letter of need that Mr Li purge his contempt and apologise, however will nonetheless position the file before the court.”
It added that as the matter is now before the court, it will not be commenting even more.
In a declaration on Friday, the Attorney-General’s Chambers stated it had actually formerly instructed Li to get rid of the post and provide a letter of apology acknowledging that his remarks about the judiciary were baseless.

It stated Li had failed to fulfill those requirements by the specified due date on Friday, which had actually been pushed back from Jul 28 at Li’s request.

” As Mr Li has failed to purge the contempt and to apologise by the extended deadline, an application for leave to begin committal procedures for contempt versus him will today be submitted in the High Court,” the statement said.

POST AMENDED FOR CLARIFICATION
Earlier on Friday, Li said on Facebook he had actually amended his original Jul 15 post to clarify any misconceptions. He said he did not believe the post was in contempt of court.

Li’s Jul 15 post was shared on a personal privacy setting that enables material to only be viewed by his Facebook buddies. He stated on Friday the intent of that post was to communicate the “worldwide media were restricted in their ability to report” on a current fight in between PM Lee and his siblings “due to the litigious nature” of the government.
“It is not my intent to attack the Singapore judiciary or to undermine public self-confidence in the administration of justice,” he said.

The public spat in between the Lee brother or sisters, kids of Lee Kuan Yew, flared in June over the future of the family home and raised questions about governance in the city-state.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and sis Lee Wei Ling accused their senior bro of abusing his powers, prompting the prime minister to call a two-day argument during the parliament session in July to “clarify” over a concern that some people say has tarnished Singapore’s image.

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