Kelong King arrested in Finland again
Finnish court to decide if Wilson Raj will be deported to Singapore
They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place.
Convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, 48, seems to have disproved this by getting arrested again in Finland last Wednesday.
The New Paper learnt of his arrest two days ago from a source close to the Singaporean.
Mr Friedhelm Althans, a spokesman for Europol's Joint Investigation Team "Veto" into match fixing, told TNP yesterday: "I can confirm the arrest of (Wilson Raj) Perumal last Wednesday in Helsinki. At this time, I can't give you more details."
Wilson Raj was first arrested in Finland in February 2011 for travelling on a forged passport. Police investigations revealed that he had been the architect of around 30 fixed matches in the Finnish football league between 2008 and 2011, bribing 11 footballers with about 470,000 euros (S$820,000).
After serving half of his two-year jail sentence, Wilson Raj was handed over to the Hungarian authorities in 2012 to assist with their match-fixing probes.
He has been under house arrest in Hungary since.
So how did Wilson Raj end up in Finland again and what was he doing there?
The Finnish authorities were tight-lipped when approached by Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
The newspaper reported yesterday that Wilson Raj was taken into custody "on an international arrest warrant issued by Singaporean authorities". He is being held in the city of Vantaa.
Wilson Raj is still considered a fugitive by the Singapore authorities.
In 2010, he absconded after failing to attend an appeals hearing for injuring an auxiliary police officer in 2009.
The District Court of Vantaa will decide if Wilson Raj is to be deported to Singapore, reported Helsingin Sanomat.
TNP reported in 2011 that such a move would be difficult as Singapore does not have an extradition treaty with Finland.
The latest arrest came just as Wilson Raj's match-fixing book titled Kelong Kings, co-written with two Italian journalists, is due to be published. (See report on right.)
One of the journalists, Mr Alessandro Righi, told TNP: "We are concerned because the offence (Wilson Raj absconding from Singapore) is an old one and nobody had bothered to honour the arrest warrant until now.
"On the eve of the book's publication, Finland has suddenly decided to arrest Wilson and consider sending him back to Singapore. The arrest will not prevent us from publishing the book, which will be out on April 28."
He said that Wilson Raj's girlfriend had informed him of the arrest on April 18.
Mr Righi said this was not the first time Wilson Raj had left Hungary while under house arrest. He said the match fixer had revealed during interviews for the book project that he had flown to France and Norway.
"You don't need a passport for flights within the European Union," he said. "A picture ID (identification card) will do."
Wilson Raj had sent an e-mail to this reporter on April 10.
It read: "Hello bro! Long time no sound bro. I heard about the hot news (referring to TNP's report about two Dutch journalists who went undercover in Singapore to meet a match fixer)."
When TNP e-mailed him two days ago, there was no reply.
A Singapore police spokesman said they are aware of the arrest.
She said: "Singapore Police have been notified of the developments in Finland and are currently working with the relevant authorities."
The arrest will not prevent us from publishing the book, which will be out on April 28.
- Mr Alessandro Righi, an Italian journalist and co-writer of Wilson Raj Perumal's match fixing book titled Kelong Kings
HE SPILLS ALL IN BOOK
The details in Wilson Raj Perumal's book titled Kelong Kings are graphic.
It names the "who's who" in the local match-fixing fraternity.
Among other things, he describes how he first came to know of alleged kelong kingpin Dan Tan Seet Eng, who is being held without trial by the Singapore authorities after a crackdown last September.
Wilson Raj also reveals how he approaches players.
In 2008, after playing Singapore in a 2010 World Cup qualifier, the Lebanese national team were waiting for their flight at Changi Airport.
Wilson Raj writes: "I strolled in and approached two or three of the players; their English was very poor so I kept it simple.
"'I'm a football agent,' I said as I extracted my name card from my pocket. 'What's your name? You want to come and play in Singapore? Give me your number and I'll ring you up'.
"I saved the telephone numbers and e-mail of a few of the Lebanese players for future reference.
"I knew that Singapore was going to play the return leg in Beirut and I was ready to convince the Lebanese boys to do business."