High Court dismisses match-fixer’s appeal against conviction

MATCH-FIXER Eric Ding Si Yang will remain in jail after the High Court yesterday dismissed his appeal against his conviction for bribing three Lebanese football officials.

Upholding Ding's conviction on three charges of corruption, Justice Chan Seng Onn said he agreed with the findings of the district judge who convicted Ding after a 25-day trial.

However, the question of whether the 32-year-old businessman will serve his original term of three years in prison remains to be decided.

The prosecution has appealed for a heavier punishment of four to six years' jail and a fine of between $120,000 and $300,000, while he has appealed for a shorter jail term.

Sentencing arguments were adjourned for the prosecution and defence to sort out issues regarding two other charges that he is still facing, for stealing a document and for obstructing investigations.

Ding, who did not take the stand to give testimony during the trial, was sentenced on July 24 for providing three Lebanese football officials with prostitutes as bribes for fixing future matches.

He started serving the jail term immediately after he was denied bail pending appeal.

Yesterday, Ding's lawyer, Mr Hamidul Haq, argued that the prosecution had failed to link his client to the supply of women to provide sexual services to the referee and two linesmen.

Mr Haq criticised the prosecution for not calling Dan Tan - alleged mastermind of a match-fixing syndicate currently detained without trial - and two others to testify regarding the prostitutes.

Although Ding had sent an e-mail to referee Ali Sabbagh asking if he was "prepared to do business", Mr Haq argued that this was part of his client's "undercover" research for a book he was writing on match-fixing.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor Alan Loh argued that when Ding, using a fake identity, flew to Beirut in 2012 to meet Mr Sabbagh and others, he was trying to cultivate officials to fix matches.

The DPP argued there was no evidence Ding had a book deal.

Pointing to an e-mail Ding sent to Mr Sabbagh, with links to videos of bad refereeing decisions and telling him to do a "good job", the DPP said this was as good as a manual on fixing matches.


This article was first published on September 20, 2014.
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