Sun, Aug 06, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Singapore PM’s nephew says will not return home


The nephew of the Singaporean prime minister, who faces contempt of court proceedings for comments he made suggesting the city state’s courts were not independent, said he would not be returning to Singapore.

The office of Singapore’s attorney general on Friday said it would begin contempt of court proceedings against Li Shengwu, a US-based academic, over Facebook posts he made on July 15.

The legal move is the latest twist in a family feud over the fate of the house left by the late Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) that gripped the nation last month.

In his post, Li, nephew of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) and a son of Lee’s brother, Lee Hsien Yang (李顯揚), described the Singapore government as “litigious” and its courts as “pliant.”

Li, 32, is a junior fellow at Harvard University and yesterday told reporters from the US that he expected to start an assistant professor position with the university in the fall next year.

He said he would defend himself through legal representation in Singapore, but would not return to the country.

“I have no intention of going back to Singapore. I have a happy life and a fulfilling job in the US,” he said in an interview.

Li said the prosecution against him was “politically motivated.”

“The attorney general’s chambers explicitly mentioned both my family relationships and recent political events in their cease and desist letter,” Li said. “I would like to spend my time doing research, but have somehow been swept into my uncle Lee Hsien Loong’s personal political vendetta.”

In a statement on Friday, the attorney general’s chambers said it had previously instructed Li to remove the post and issue a letter of apology saying his comments about the judiciary were baseless.

It said since Li had failed to meet those requirements by the stipulated deadline of 5am on Friday, which had been pushed back from July 28 at Li’s request, it had filed the contempt proceedings in the High Court.

Earlier on Friday, Li said on Facebook he had amended his original July 15 post to clarify any misunderstandings.

However, he said he did not believe the post was in contempt of court.

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