Singaporean man convicted for online threats to Brighton's Maupay

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - November 21, 2020 Brighton & Hove Albion's Neal Maupay Pool via REUTERS/Tim Keeton

LONDON (Reuters) - A 19-year-old man has been found guilty in Singapore of sending serious online abuse to Brighton & Hove Albion's French forward Neal Maupay in June last year, the Premier League said on Wednesday.

Singapore's Straits Times newspaper reported that a court heard that Derek Ng De Ren, now 19, used anonymous Instagram accounts to send messages threatening to kill Maupay and his family after the player scored a winning goal against Arsenal.

The Premier League said Ng, who will be sentenced on July 7, had been identified and located by its legal team.

"As this case shows, we take each report seriously and will do everything we can to identify and investigate offenders and pursue legal action, wherever in the world they may be," said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters in a statement.

"We are committed to supporting players, managers and their families and will continue to work with relevant authorities to fight online hate."

The Premier League launched a dedicated online abuse reporting system a year ago for managers, players and their families.

Maupay, 24, thanked his club, the League and the Singaporean police and courts.

"The vile and toxic abuse of which I was on the receiving end is a daily occurrence for many professional athletes and public figures," said the Frenchman.

"I hope this goes some way to showing those online trolls that it is totally unacceptable and that the authorities are prepared to take the necessary action."

The Straits Times quoted deputy public prosecutor Jeremy Bin as saying Maupay had believed the threats to be "legitimate and credible".

"The victim and his family did not leave their home as far as possible, for fear of being attacked," he added.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said the club would use all legal resources to identify anonymous perpetrators of abuse.

"The social media giants must do more, but until they do, we are prepared to play our part by working with the Premier League and other authorities to identify and root out these individuals," he said.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

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