SINGAPORE: Matchfixer Eric Ding Si Yang must serve a further year in prison after he admitted perverting the course of justice and failing to provide the password to his laptop computer.
The 33-year-old is now serving a five-year jail sentence for giving bribes in the form of free sexual services to three Lebanese FIFA match officials to fix a soccer match that they would be officiating.
On April 23, 2013 , after he was charged with corruption and released on bail, he hid a receipt in his left sock while the contents of his safe were being examined by Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau officers at the CPIB premises.
The next day, he was at the Criminal Investigation Department when he obstructed the lawful exercise of powers by refusing to give his password to decrypt the Sony laptop that was seized from his car when he was arrested on April 3 that year.
He was sentenced to 12 months on the perversion charge and a concurrent nine months’ jail for the other offence under the Criminal Procedure Code. The sentence will start after the expiry of his present jail term.
Ding, who was clad in prison garb, was sentenced to three years’ jail after he was convicted of bribing the soccer officials in July last year. He lost his appeal against conviction and sentence.
The High Court, however, allowed the prosecution’s cross-appeal and increased his sentence to five years earlier this year.
A district court heard on Friday (Oct 23) that Ding and his lawyer were at the CPIB premises on April 24, 2013 – 18 days after he was charged – to witness the opening of his safe.
Ding knew that the meeting with CPIB was in relation to the ongoing investigation into his involvement in match-fixing activities in Singapore.
He then proceeded to open the safe in the presence of two CPIB officers and his lawyer. One of the officers recorded all the items that were found while the other noticed him fidgeting with his left sock.
The officer saw a huge bulge in the left sock. When confronted, Ding removed a piece of paper that he had surreptitiously ferreted from the opened safe. It was found to be an official receipt from M&A Law Corporation for the sum of $5,000.
Ding later gave a statement to the CPIB admitting that the money was paid by him as a deposit to engage a lawyer to represent one Muhammed Hassan Shahood Din, who is now being detained for his his involvement in an international match fixing syndicate.
The next day, he lied to CID officers that he did not have any password for his Sony laptop which had been configured to display a boot-up message that falsely claimed “hard-disk failure”.
The court heard that he knowingly withheld information so as to prevent the CID officers from accessing the data on his laptop.
Forensic officers from the CID subsequently managed to find out the decryption password without Ding’s help. Considerable resources were expended for this and incriminating evidence such as e-mails between Ding and the Lebanese Fifa football officials were found. These clearly pointed to his involvement in match-fixing activities.
He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for perverting the course of justice; and for the other offence, fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to three years.