Jail for Singapore mastermind who bribed players to fix overseas basketball matches


- Illustrative photo

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man masterminded and financed corrupt arrangements to bribe professional basketball players to fix matches in Thailand and the Philippines.

On Wednesday (June 12), Koa Wei Quan, 33, was sentenced to two years and three months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to four graft-related charges.

His accomplice, Poh Wei Hao, then 33, who is also a Singaporean, was sentenced to eight months’ jail in December 2023.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryan Wong said Koa and Poh had befriended each other in 2009 when they were basketball players for the same local club.

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 that they were playing in.

Poh agreed to the plan.

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.”

The prosecutor also said that some time in or before 2018, Koa got to know one Leonidez Zapata Avenido when they played for the same team.

Avenido later introduced him to Sergei Bien Orillo who told Koa that he could fix matches in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) league.

Some time in April 2018, Koa, Avenido and Orillo discussed the possibility of fixing an upcoming PBA match between the San Miguel Beermen and Magnolia Hotshots basketball clubs.

On April 6 that year, Avenido created a Facebook group conversation for the trio.

It was ultimately agreed that they would offer Ian Sanggalang, who played for Magnolia, a sum of 250,000 Philippine pesos (around S$6,400 according to court documents) as a reward to fix the outcome of the match by ensuring that Magnolia lost by nine or more points.

As part of the arrangement, Koa would also provide Orillo with the money to bribe Sanggalang.

On April 6, 2018, Magnolia lost the PBA match against San Miguel by nine points. Three days later, Koa asked Orillo, who was in the Philippines, for his remittance details.

Orillo told Koa that he had given US$5,000 (S$6,700) to Sanggalang after the match. - The Straits Times/ANN

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