Minister clarifies arrest of Dan Tan

Alleged match-fixing kingpin Dan Tan leaving the courthouse last week, after the Court of Appeal ordered his release. Described by Interpol as "the leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate", he had been detained without trial for t
Alleged match-fixing kingpin Dan Tan (left) leaving the courthouse last week, after the Court of Appeal ordered his release. Described by Interpol as "the leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate", he had been detained without trial for two years.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

If a decision is made to detain alleged match-fixing kingpin Dan Tan Seet Eng without trial once again, the grounds for his detention will be set out in full to comply with the Court of Appeal's ruling.

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam made this clear at a press conference yesterday, a day after the 51-year-old Tan was re-arrested by police.

Last week, Singapore's apex court ordered the release of Tan, who had been detained without trial for two years. Described by Interpol as "the leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate", he has been linked to match- fixing across Europe, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey and Trinidad and Tobago.

But the court's three-judge panel ruled that for a person to be detained under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act, or CLTPA, it must be shown that his activities affect public safety, peace and good order within Singapore.

And the detention order did not adequately show how leading and funding a syndicate which allegedly fixed matches overseas posed such risks here.

Mr Shanmugam stressed yesterday that he and his ministry have already said they accept and respect the judgment. If this was not the case, the right thing to do was to take up the matter in Parliament and change the law.

"Singapore's fundamentals depend on strong institutions and upholding their strength and status," he said.

In a post on Facebook, he also said: "Some media reports had inaccurately given the impression that the re-arrest goes against the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal. That is not so.

"In this case, the court accepted that illegal match-fixing could come within the CLTPA. The Court of Appeal however said that the Detention Order issued against Dan Tan did not comply with the requirements of the Act, and did not adequately set out the grounds which justified the detention.

"The police have arrested Dan Tan for investigations. If he is detained under the CLTPA, the Detention Order will set out the grounds in full, as advised by the Attorney- General's Chambers, and will comply with the terms of the judgment."

Tan's release last week was criticised by former Interpol chief Ronald Noble and world football body Fifa.

Responding to a question during the press conference on whether international pressure played a part in Tan's re-arrest, Mr Shanmugam said: "We don't arrest or release people based on international pressure. We do what's right for Singapore."

Tan's lawyer Hamidul Haq told The Straits Times: "We have anticipated all the developments so far and we will seek legal recourse at the appropriate time."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2015, with the headline 'Minister clarifies arrest of Dan Tan'. Print Edition | Subscribe