Match-fixing trial: Eric Ding was never an 'investigative journalist'with The New Paper

Singaporean businessman Eric Ding Si Yang (left) arrives at a district court with his lawyer in Singapore on Aug 27, 2013. The trial against alleged match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang resumed Thursday with The New Paper editor Dominic Nathan taking the st
Singaporean businessman Eric Ding Si Yang (left) arrives at a district court with his lawyer in Singapore on Aug 27, 2013. The trial against alleged match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang resumed Thursday with The New Paper editor Dominic Nathan taking the stand. -- ST FILE PHOTO : AFP  

The trial against alleged match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang resumed Thursday with The New Paper editor Dominic Nathan taking the stand. Mr Nathan denied a suggestion that was put forth by defence counsel Hamidul Haq on behalf of Ding, that his client "does investigative journalism to gather information for his colleagues in the newspaper to develop stories".

Ding was never asked to work on stories about match-fixing nor gather fresh information, said Mr Nathan. But Ding was consulted on whether he knew anything about match-fixing syndicate personalities after reports broke about Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal's arrest in Finland in February 2011.

The 31-year-old businessman is accused of bribing three Fifa-accredited Lebanese officials - referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, and linesmen Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37 - with prostitutes to induce them into fixing a match.

The court heard that The New Paper had engaged Ding as a freelance writer from March 2006 until May 2012, during which he published a weekly column titled From The Ground and was on a panel of tipsters. Known as the Lobang King, Ding was supposed to be the tipster who gave the feel of punters on the ground, of "somebody in the coffee shop, keeping tabs on what the common guy or the average Joe was talking about", said Mr Nathan.