Match-fixer gets extra jail time for perverting course of justice

Match-fixer gets extra jail time for perverting course of justice
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Convicted match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang will have to serve another year in prison after admitting to perverting the course of justice by hiding evidence and failing to provide his laptop password.

In 2013, Ding had tried to hide a piece of crucial evidence that he had in his safe while out on bail after being charged with bribing football officials, a district court heard yesterday.

The receipt, issued by law firm M&A Law Corporation, would have linked him to an ongoing investigation into an international match-fixing syndicate.

Ding also tried to hinder a police probe into his match-fixing activities by failing to provide the password to decrypt the Sony laptop seized from his car on April 3, 2013, when he was arrested.

Yesterday, Ding, who is serving five years' jail for match-fixing, was given 12 months' jail for intentionally perverting the course of justice, and a concurrent nine-month sentence for an offence under the Criminal Procedure Code, the first such prosecution.

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong ordered that Ding, 33, serve the 12 months after his existing jail term expires as he said the obstruction offences were distinct.

There is also public interest to deter people from obstructing investigations or perverting the course of justice where investigations into serious crimes are concerned, he said.

The judge in July last year had found Ding guilty of giving bribes in the form of free sexual services to three Lebanese football officials to fix a match. Ding lost his appeal against the conviction and the three-year sentence was increased to five years by the High Court earlier this year following the prosecution's cross-appeal.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said Ding, accompanied by his lawyer, was on the premises of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on April 24, 2013, to witness the opening of the safe seized from his home.

While opening the safe, Ding surreptitiously hid the receipt. A CPIB officer saw him fidgeting with his left sock and confronted him.

Ding then removed the receipt concealed in his sock. He had paid a $5,000 deposit to engage a lawyer for one Muhammed Hassan Shahood Din, who has since been detained for his involvement in an international match-fixing syndicate.

The next day, Ding lied to CID officers that he did not have any password for his Sony laptop, configured to display a boot-up message that falsely claimed "hard-disk failure''. Considerable resources were used to get the data from his laptop, which had incriminating evidence such as e-mail between Ding and the Lebanese officials.

Ding could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for perverting the course of justice, and fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to three years for the other offence.

This article was first published on October 24, 2015.
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