Update: As of April 5, Leong said he had raised the full amount from donors.
Government critic Leong Sze Hian appears to be on track to raise enough funds five days after a court ordered him to pay the prime minister for defaming him.
As of today, 68-year-old Leong has raised S$78,000 (US$58,000) through donations, which is over half the amount of S$133,000 he must pay Lee Hsien Loong. Leong has been accepting donations via bank transfers, PayPal and even cash, his photos show.
“Update: After 5 days crowdfunding $77,703 1,001 people. Thanks so much, am very grateful,” he wrote online yesterday. He said that the funniest thing a donor had said to him was: “I may be blind, but I can see the injustice!”
Leong was convicted of defamation for sharing an article – he was not the author – on Facebook in 2018 that linked Lee to the massive defrauding of public money in Malaysia known as the 1MDB scandal.
He said the largest donation was S$5,000 and flaunted photos of cash he purportedly received. One of them showed red packets of money while another showed a check for S$3,000.
Another wellwisher just came to my house to give me this!
Thanks so much, am very grateful
In return, I only gave him…
Leong began soliciting donations the same day the high court gave its ruling. He went live on Facebook to say he was “disappointed” by the court’s decision. Over 300 donors came forward on the first day to give him over S$20,000.
The judge ruled that Leong showed “reckless disregard of whether the article was true or not” and shared the article “without making any enquiries as to its truth whatsoever.”
Leong said his prosecution was unfair given that many other people had shared the same article in the same way.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been awarded damages of $133,000 plus costs to be determined for his libel suit…
Other stories you should check out:
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!