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Healing the Divide founder raises a third of S$100,000 in legal fees a day after donation appeal

SINGAPORE — Iris Koh, founder of anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide who is being prosecuted for allegedly lying to the Ministry of Health (MOH), has raised about 30 per cent of the amount needed for her legal fees for her upcoming court hearings, just a day after she started an appeal for donations online.

Iris Koh (pictured), founder of anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide.

Iris Koh (pictured), founder of anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide.

SINGAPORE — Iris Koh, founder of anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide who is being prosecuted for allegedly lying to the Ministry of Health (MOH), has raised about 30 per cent of the amount needed for her legal fees for her upcoming court hearings, just a day after she started an appeal for donations online.

Koh told TODAY on Wednesday (Feb 9) that she is looking to raise S$100,000 for her legal fees. 

The 46-year-old was initially denied bail when she first appeared in court on Jan 23, but was released from remand close to two weeks later on Feb 4. Koh's husband paid S$20,000 for the bail.

Since the donation appeal went out on Tuesday morning, about S$30,000 has come in, with S$1,000 as the largest single donation so far.

In her appeal, which was seen on the "Healing the Divide Discussion" Telegram chat group, Ms Koh described her circumstances and included a mobile phone number that donors may use to transfer money via the PayNow mobile application.

Koh said that she has yet to count the total number of donors who have contributed to her so far, but she described it as “a lot”.

“I'm very encouraged and grateful for the support,” she said. “I'm confident that I will raise the S$100,000. I don't know by when, but enough time for me to have money parked aside for my legal defence.”

Koh, who is represented by Mr Clarence Lun of the Fervent Chambers law firm, said that once she hits her target, she will inform the public.

“If the money is not all used up… we will redirect to other legal efforts for the community in Healing the Divide,” she said.

This will include suing Health Minister Ong Ye Kung and the Government “for judicial review”, Koh added, as well as helping members within her group with their employment claims against their employers.

When asked how she will remain accountable to her donors, Koh said that she is willing to share screenshots of the bank transfers, without sacrificing the donors' privacy.  

She added that any receipts that go towards her legal fees will be “kept and presented, if need be”.

Koh stands accused of two charges.

She was first charged on Jan 23 with one count of conspiring with a doctor, Jipson Quah, to cheat MOH into believing that people were vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine.

This charge was later upgraded to a more serious charge of criminal conspiracy to give a false representation to MOH.

On Feb 4, she was charged again with obstructing a police inspector from carrying out her duties by refusing to sign a police statement and tearing up a copy of it while in lockup.

Koh is scheduled to appear again before the court for a hearing on March 14.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this report stated that the S$100,000 Iris Koh is hoping to raise will be used to cover her bail of S$20,000 and another S$80,000 in legal fees. Koh has clarified that the $100,000 will be used entirely for legal fees.

Related topics

Healing The Divide Iris Koh donation vaccination Covid-19 legal fee

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