Singapore’s prime minister involved in a dispute against siblings

A recent story online confirms that the feud between Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, and his siblings is heating up. Mr. Loong is the eldest son of Singapore’s founder, Lee Kuan Yew, who governed for over three decades. Mr. Yew passed away on March 23, 2015 at the age of 91. Mr. Loong became Singapore’s third prime minister in 2004. He led his party, the People’s Action Party, to victory in 2006, 2011, and 2015 and began his current term on January 16, 2015.

The estate dispute is between Mr. Loong and his younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang, and younger sister Lee Wei Ling. Mr. Loong has been accused of undermining Mr. Yew’s last wishes that the residence he lived in for over 70 years be demolished after his death. His siblings have accused him of working behind the scenes to block the demolition of the home. They took the dispute to social media on June 14, 2017 when they issued a statement with respect to the dispute accusing their brother of abuse of power. The matter drew significant media attention with many Singaporeans expressing concern that it was turning into an international spectacle.

Subsequently, the parties agreed to manage the dispute in private and to avoid any further embarrassment. Mr. Yang and Ms. Ling agreed to stop releasing further documents related to the dispute on social media as long as Mr. Yew’s wish to demolish his residence was not misrepresented.

Singapore’s Attorney General’s Chambers now seeking contempt of Court finding against Mr. Loong’s nephew

Singapore’s Attorney General’s Chambers has recently applied for permission to commence a proceeding against Li Shengwu. Mr. Shengwu is Mr. Loong’s nephew, and Mr. Yang’s eldest son. Mr. Shengwu is facing prosecution over a July Facebook post in which he alleged the Singaporean government is attempting to block freedom of speech with respect to the dispute. The Attorney General’s Office asked Mr. Shengwu to delete the Facebook post, sign a letter of apology, and to post it on his Facebook page. Mr. Shengwu had until 5pm July 28, 2017 to delete the post. He asked for an extension until August 4 in order to respond to the Attorney General’s Chambers.

Thereafter, Mr. Shengwu did not comply with the deadline instead stating that his original post was not attack on the judiciary.

This story is an example of how nasty estate disputes can become. It will be interesting to see what happens next in this story. Rather than privately dealing with what should happen to Mr. Yew’s home, his family has turned this dispute into an international story.

More on this story here.