Former table tennis player's mum on trial

Su Fengxian, mother of former national table tennis player Li Hu, is accused of offering €2,000 (S$3,200) to Singapore Table Tennis Association technical director Loy Soo Han. The Chinese national said it was part of the culture in her native count
Su Fengxian, mother of former national table tennis player Li Hu, is accused of offering €2,000 (S$3,200) to Singapore Table Tennis Association technical director Loy Soo Han. The Chinese national said it was part of the culture in her native country to offer such payment.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

She offered bribe to STTA official to be lenient to her son

She had admitted in a statement to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) that she intended to offer cash to a Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) director as she wanted him to help her son.

Chinese national Su Fengxian, who is the mother of former national table tennis player Li Hu, is now on trial after she allegedly offered €2,000 (S$3,200) to STTA technical director Loy Soo Han on Oct 17 last year. It was as an inducement to show leniency in Mr Li's disciplinary case.

On the first day of her trial yesterday, the court heard that Su's son was not around when she took out €2,000 from her bag and put the money into an empty envelope.

This was revealed in her statement to CPIB principal special investigator Tay Beng Kwan on Oct 19 last year. She told Mr Tay that she then went to Mr Loy's office with her son to plead for leniency.

In her statement, Su said: "When my son was leaving the room, I tried to take out the envelope containing €2,000 from my bag to give to Loy but he told me to keep the envelope and asked (me to) leave the office."

She said she had intended to offer the money to Mr Loy as she wanted him to help her son in his disciplinary case with the STTA. She did not mind if there was any disciplinary action as long as her son could stay in the STTA. In the same statement, she denied it was a bribe: "No, it was just a thank-you gesture for him so that he can help my son."

About a month later, Su was quizzed by a second CPIB investigator, Mr Cheot Zhi Chen . She said being from China, she did not know Singapore's laws well. She added, in the statement Mr Cheot recorded on Nov 23 last year: "I regret what I have done. In China, what I have done by offering the money to Mr Loy is part of our culture."

Last October, Mr Li, 29, was hauled before an STTA disciplinary committee for violating house rules.The former world junior singles champion had allowed a female friend to spend a night at the STTA hostel, located at its Toa Payoh headquarters. The Hubei native has since been sacked and the STTA said its decision took into account his previous disciplinary issues.

Su's lawyer, Mr Alfred Dodwell, had earlier challenged the admissibility of the statement his client had given the CPIB on Oct 19, saying that Mr Tay had induced and made promises to her.

Mr Tay, who took the stand yesterday, denied Su's claims and District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt allowed the disputed statement to be admitted. He said that Mr Tay had never promised freedom to Su and was satisfied she had given the statement voluntarily. The trial resumes today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'Former table tennis player's mum on trial'. Print Edition | Subscribe