SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man, who worked with a friend to fix basketball matches in Thailand and committed multiple graft-related offences, was sentenced to eight months’ jail on Dec 6.
Poh Wei Hao, 30, pleaded guilty on Nov 22 to two charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Two other similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
According to court documents, he had conspired with Singaporean Koa Wei Quan, 33, to commit the offences. Koa’s case is still pending.
In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryan Wong said Poh and Koa met each other in 2009 when they were professional basketball players for the same local club.
The prosecutor did not disclose details about the club.
DPP Wong said that in either 2017 or 2018, Koa discovered that like him, Poh was also placing illegal sporting bets online.
Koa told Poh that he knew foreign basketball players who could be engaged to “fix” matches in which they were playing.
DPP Wong said: “Match fixing would increase the likelihood of Koa and Poh winning their online bets and making a profit, as they would be placing bets for match outcomes that were already agreed with the players involved.”
Poh then agreed to the plan.
The two men discussed fixing matches in the Thailand Basketball League (TBL) with two Filipino players – Almond Pineda Vosotros and Leonidez Zapata Avenido.
At the time, Vosotros was playing for the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) club, while Avenido was playing for Bangkok Tigers.
The DPP said in November: “These discussions were mainly conducted over a Facebook group conversation created by Koa, which involved the four of them.”
Court documents stated that some time on or before July 1, 2018, Koa and Vosotros separately agreed that the latter would help fix a TBL match in which PEA took on the Mono Vampire basketball club.
DPP Wong said: “Koa understood that Almond (Pineda Vosotros) would be ‘doing under’, by which PEA would lose its match by a certain score. It was also agreed that Almond would receive $1,000 for helping to fix the match.”
The Filipino played in the match and his team lost on July 1, 2018.
The prosecution said Koa handed some money to Poh, who went to Bangkok and passed $1,000 to Vosotros six days later.
DPP Wong also said that on July 7, 2018, Koa and Poh discussed with the two players to fix another match.
It was agreed that Vosotros would help fix the match, and in return, he requested for US$1,500 (S$2,010) for successfully doing so, said the prosecutor.
He added that Poh, acting on Koa’s agreement, accepted the offer.
However, Poh later told Vosotros that the deal was off. According to court documents, this was because the two Singaporeans were unable to place a match bet based on a desired outcome.
For each graft charge, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000. - The Straits Times/ANN