The Singapore high court has ordered a blogger to pay S$133,000 (US$98,825) in damages in a defamation case to the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.
Lee sued Leong Sze Hian, a financial adviser, after he shared on Facebook an online news article .
Lee’s lawyers have said such links were “false and baseless“. Leong had deleted the November 2018 Facebook post within three days of sharing it, complying with a government request.
Judge Aedit Abdullah said in his decision he did not find that Leong “can reasonably claim that the defamatory words did not impugn” Lee’s character as the article had suggested that the prime minister was, at the very least, involved in serious and dishonest criminal activity.
A total of 45 people responded to Leong’s post, for which the privacy settings were set to public, said the judge.
Leong had previously said he “merely shared” an article from a Malaysian online news site without adding any comments or changing the content.
The prime minister’s press secretary said the matter had been decided by the judge and Lee had nothing further to add.
Leong said he was glad his ordeal was over but he was disappointed. He said he would seek legal advice over the judgment as well as listen to views of other Singaporeans.
Senior figures in the ruling People’s Action party, including Lee’s late father and the founder of modern-day Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, have previously sued foreign media, political opponents and online commentators for defamation.