Singapore

Paddler's mum gets 6 weeks' jail for offering bribe to STTA official

There is public interest in protecting the integrity of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), said a judge in sentencing the mother of a former national paddler to jail for bribery.

When Chinese national Su Fengxian, 56, learnt her son was facing disciplinary action, she tried to help him by offering a bribe of €2,000 (S$3,200) to an STTA director, who rejected it.

On Jan 2, District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt found her guilty and sentenced her to six weeks' jail yesterday. Su's son Li Hu was a national player and one-time world junior singles champion.

In October 2016, the 29-year-old was hauled before an STTA disciplinary committee for violating house rules in allowing a female friend to spend a night at the STTA hostel in Toa Payoh.

At the trial last year, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmin Kaur told the court that while Su was in China, she got a call from Mr Li regarding the matter on Oct 14, 2016. Su called STTA's technical director Loy Soo Han to plead for leniency on her son's behalf.

However, her pleas failed to move Mr Loy, and Mr Li handed in his resignation letter to STTA.

On Oct 17, Su arrived in Singapore and went to STTA to meet Mr Loy to plead for leniency. She offered him an envelope of cash.

Yesterday, DPP Kaur urged Judge Chay to sentence Su to at least four months' jail.

She said Su's actions were premeditated, adding: "The accused... offered the bribe to Loy because it was a solution that was commonplace in her culture."

Ms Kaur said a strong signal must be sent to deter any attempt to bribe STTA officials, "to minimise or reduce the potential damage to Singapore's reputation in the international sporting arena that may be caused by the taint of corruption".

Counsel Alfred Dodwell, representing Su, told the court that she intends to appeal against her conviction and sentence. - SHAFFIQ ALKHATIB

COURT & CRIME