Vandalism, threats failed to stop him from exposing match-fixing

TNP senior correspondent Zaihan Mohamed Yusof's book Foul! shows how the match-fixing syndicates operate and reveals details about the lives of the Singaporeans involved. The 152-page book was launched yesterday.
TNP senior correspondent Zaihan Mohamed Yusof's book Foul! shows how the match-fixing syndicates operate and reveals details about the lives of the Singaporeans involved. The 152-page book was launched yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Journalist Zaihan Mohamed Yusof received threatening phone calls and text messages and had his car vandalised several times.

But far from stopping The New Paper senior correspondent from writing about football match-fixing here, the threats motivated him to uncover the illicit activities that have tarnished The Beautiful Game instead.

"The threats showed me that I was on to something big," he said.

The 43-year-old spent more than four years reporting on the topic and his efforts have now culminated in a 152-page book, called Foul! The Inside Story Of Singapore Match Fixers, launched yesterday at the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) auditorium in Toa Payoh North.

The book shows how the syndicates operate and reveals details about the lives of the Singaporeans involved such as Dan Tan Seet Eng, who allegedly fixed football matches in Italy's Serie A and Serie B.

Foul! kicks off with Mr Zaihan's 2011 TNP report, "Global Kelong Kings: Singapore has 'academy of match fixers', says Fifa". It won Story of the Year at the SPH 2012 English and Malay Newspaper Division Awards.

TNP editor Dominic Nathan said he encouraged Mr Zaihan to write the book as he was impressed by his "extensive reporting and research".

"The book also shows how illegal betting by Singaporeans play a role in perpetuating match-fixing," he added.

Mr Zaihan said the underlying message of the book is for football fans to stop betting illegally.

"Unfortunately, we are living in a region where illegal betting is somewhat part of our culture. But it should stop," he said.

Foul! can be bought at leading bookstores at $19.26 (GST inclusive). It can also be ordered from the Straits Times Press online bookstore at www.stpressbooks.com.sg.

ameltan@sph.com.sg

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