Match-fixer Ding jailed three years, denied bail
Convicted match-fixer denied bail for appeal. Prosecution says...
He had turned up in court while on bail, even after he was convicted.
His face, now easily recognisable after being splashed on international media, prevents him from going beyond the immigration counter.
But these arguments by defence lawyer Hamidul Haq failed to convince District Judge Toh Yung Cheong to continue granting bail to match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang.
Judge Toh ruled yesterday that there was a risk of Ding absconding, which may harm Singapore's reputation of having a fair justice system and low levels of corruption.
He had earlier sentenced Ding, 32, to three years' jail for bribing three Lebanese match officials with free sexual services in return for fixing future matches.
The defence said that it intended to file an appeal against the conviction and sentence, and applied for Ding be granted bail pending the outcome of the appeal.
Citing Ding as a flight risk, the prosecution opposed the bail application.
Explaining his ruling, Judge Toh said Ding had a "high level of individual culpability" and was "no doubt swayed by the potential profits".
Contributing to Ding's culpability, he said, was his persistence in getting the Lebanese match officials involved in match fixing.
This "assiduous pursuing" was also what led Deputy Public Prosecutor Alan Loh to ask for Ding to be denied bail and start serving his sentence immediately, or for the bail amount to be fixed at $1 million with a Singaporean surety.
Increasing the bail amount modestly or imposing more conditions will not be enough to secure Ding's attendance at the appeal, the DPP said.
Mr Loh pointed out that when Ding's bail was increased to $400,000 pending the verdict, a mysterious "Mr Lee" had contributed $50,000.
Ding's father, who took the $50,000 cash cheque from him, did not know his full name or contact number, prompting the DPP to call the contribution "highly suspect".
"Ding obviously has some ways and means to obtain bail monies such that a moderate increase in bail is not likely to deter him from absconding," he said.
Calling Ding "a man of substantial means", Mr Loh said he could well "buy a passage out of Singapore" with the sales proceeds from his Thai dance club, believed to be in Orchard Hotel.
During the trial, the prosecution had also alluded to Ding's lavish lifestyle, pointing out that he had paid cash for his $1.1 million East Coast home.
Mr Loh also cited the case of former footballer Michael Vana, who fled Singapore in 1994 while on bail awaiting trial for allegedly accepting $375,000 to influence the outcome of football matches.
Countering Mr Loh's arguments, Mr Haq said: "What iota of evidence has the prosecution produced to suggest for one moment that there is this likelihood that (Ding) will not attend court?"
Ding's circumstances had changed the moment he was convicted, he added.
"If he wanted to run or abscond, why wait for the sentence?" Mr Haq said, before going on to urge the judge to "temper justice with mercy" as Ding "has the right to have this matter heard in the High Court".
"He has already suffered as a result of this ruling. Let's not make this worse for him," Mr Haq said.
When Mr Loh said the world is watching how Singapore would respond to match fixers like Ding, Mr Haq countered: "The international world is watching that Singapore gives my client a fair trial, and to be given a fair and just outcome for even bail application, and not be treated separately."
Speaking to reporters later, defence counsel Thong Chee Kun said they planned to file a criminal motion in the High Court to "re-look at the issue" of bail.
The Attorney-General's Chambers also said that it intended to appeal against the sentence. The prosecution had earlier asked for a jail term of four to six years, and a fine of between $120,000 and $300,000 for Ding.
Ding obviously has some ways and means to obtain bail monies such that a moderate increase in bail is not likely to deter him from absconding.
- Deputy Public Prosecutor Alan Loh