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Li Shengwu says he left Singapore because he feared he might be detained
[SINGAPORE] Mr Li Shengwu, the nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has said in an interview published on Friday that he left Singapore because of concerns that he might be detained by the authorities in a contempt of court case.
In the interview with Reuters, Mr Li, who is the son of PM Lee's brother Lee Hsien Yang, said: "In Singapore, it is possible that one can be detained and interrogated for some time without a lawyer."
"My friends had warned me that they were concerned for my safety if I remained in Singapore," he added.
He declined to identify his friends or disclose if they had specific information.
Mr Li left Singapore on July 23 for the United States, more than a week sooner than he planned, the Reuters report said.
The Government has released the text of its replies to queries the news agency sent for the story. In these replies, it responded to claims Mr Li had made.
PM Lee's press secretary Chang Li Lin noted that the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) have applied to the High Court for permission to start committal proceedings against Mr Li for contempt of court.
"This is a well-established legal process. Clear laws and procedures apply to all cases of contempt, including this case involving Mr Li. The courts will decide on the merits of the case."
Ms Chang said AGC has told Mr Li that if he apologised for his comments, then the proceedings against him will be withdrawn but Mr Li has not done so.
She said that the report's points on detention and interrogation are not accurate.
Earlier this month, the AGC filed an application in the High Court to begin proceedings for contempt of court against Mr Li over a Facebook post he published on July 15.
In that post, Mr Li wrote that the "Singapore government is very litigious and has a pliant court system", and said that foreign media had been cowed into self-censorship because of previous legal action.
The 32-year-old shared a link to a Wall Street Journal newspaper article that summarised the recent dispute between his father and aunt Lee Wei Ling on one side, and his uncle on the other, over their late father's home at 38, Oxley Road.
He also included a link to a 2010 New York Times editorial critical of his late grandfather, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and the Government over what it deemed as censorship of the foreign press.
Calling Mr Li's remarks "an egregious and baseless attack" on the judiciary", the AGC asked Mr Li delete the post, and sign and publish a written apology on his Facebook page by Aug 4.
Mr Li has since amended his post, but said he will not take it down. He contends that his post, when read in context, was not in contempt of court.
His July 15 post came shortly after a parliamentary debate on the allegations of abuse of power that his father and aunt levelled against PM Lee.
THE STRAITS TIMES