Ho Soo Fong is an angry man. He came to the conclusion that he has been treated unkindly in court proceedings and even his company had been ill-treated, so he decided to act in person and commenced two actions – one in his personal capacity against the Singapore Government claiming damages of $50 million dollars; and the other in his capacity as the Managing Director of Ho Pak Khim Realty Co Pte Ltd against the Singapore Government claiming damages for $4.7 million dollars.
In his personal action, he claimed that in proceedings ancillary to his divorce and related matrimonial proceedings, the judges made wrong orders and these orders were made with malicious intent or “humiliating, torturing and bullying” him.
Family Court Judges Angeline Hing and Jocelyn Ong were implicated in his claim along with Former High Court Judge Kan Ting Chiu for being malicious and bias against him. It was also his case that all the judges plotted against him in issuing their respective orders.
In Ho Pak Khim Realty Co’s suit against the Government, Soo Fong claimed that in various proceedings concerning a claim against Ravitech Pte Ltd Former High Court Judge Lai Siu Chiu had “intentionally acted unfairly and bullied” his company. He also stated that Assistant Registrar James Elisha Lee in a damages assessment was “totally not correct”. Not sparing the apex judiciary, he accused the three Court of Appeal judges of erring when they “supported Lai J’s decision”.
The Singapore Government, represented by Zheng Shaokai and Koo Zhi Zuan from the Attorney- General’s Chambers successfully applied for both matters to be struck off.
Justice Woo Bih Li, who heard both applications explained in his judgment that the actions do not disclose a reasonable cause of action for judges are immune from suits in relation to their exercise of judicial power and responsibility. He pointed out that this has been adequately legislated in Singapore but is also a longstanding tradition within the common law and has been well-recognised across commonwealth jurisdictions.
Ho Soo Fong was ordered to pay costs of $500.00 for each action struck out. One can say it is a small price to pay for an important lesson on judicial immunity from being sued. Next time, if you are displeased with a judge’s decision just file an appeal and coincidentally Ho Soo Fong has filed an appeal against both decisions which will be heard in due course by the Court of Appeal.