Serene Tiong's appeal over request to sue HC Surgical CEO dismissed

Published Wed, Apr 7, 2021 · 02:46 PM

[SINGAPORE] A woman, deemed by the court to be on a "quest for revenge" against a doctor, had her appeal dismissed on Wednesday.

Serene Tiong, who was sued for defamation by Julian Ong, had sought the court's permission to sue HC Surgical Specialists (HCSS) chief executive Heah Sieu Min on behalf of HCSS for alleged breach of director's duties relating to the company buying an additional 19 per cent stake in Dr Ong's firm.

The High Court dismissed her application last year after it found that she had a vendetta and lacked good faith.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal against last year's judgment, noting that Ms Tiong was driven by revenge and has a history of conflict with Dr Ong.

In 2018, Ms Tiong made a complaint against Dr Ong, alleging that he and another medical specialist had colluded to have sex with vulnerable women patients.

Dr Ong sued her that year for defamation after she circulated the complaint to other doctors.


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The Singapore Medical Council is currently still investigating.

On Sept 25, 2019, a day before HCSS' annual general meeting (AGM), Ms Tiong bought 100 shares in the company.

She did so to attend the AGM and raise concerns about the 19 per cent acquisition.

Ms Tiong alleged that Dr Heah breached his duties to act with reasonable diligence, and that he had failed to recuse himself from the decision-making for the 19 per cent acquisition in Dr Ong's company.

Last year, the High Court, in explaining why it dismissed Ms Tiong's application with costs, said she was "so motivated by vendetta, perceived or real, that judgment will be clouded by purely personal considerations".

On Wednesday, Justice Andrew Phang said that Ms Tiong's case was "wholly unmeritorious" and even if the intended legal action were successful, it would be devoid of use to the company.

He noted that the company had acted in its own business interests, and rubbished claims of Ms Tiong's supposed commercial interest in the company as the shares she bought just a day before its AGM were worth only about S$44.

"Her central motive is revenge," said Justice Phang.

"We recognise that Ms Tiong suffered deep, emotional scars, but legal relief must come via the correct route."

Ms Tiong has been ordered to pay costs of S$15,000 to the company and S$30,000 to Dr Heah.



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