Alleged match-fixer Dan Tan 'just wants a quiet life now'; ex-wife wants to see him one more time

He doesn't want to get into trouble with law after release from detention, says lawyer

Madam Guan Enmei, ex-wife of Dan Tan, was shocked to learn about his release. She said they divorced over a multitude of reasons and "not about the case".
Alleged match-fixer Dan Tan (centre) leaving the Supreme Court on Nov 25.
Alleged match-fixer Dan Tan (centre) leaving the Supreme Court on Nov 25. PHOTO: ST FILE

As world football body Fifa declared that it was "very disappointed" with the decision to release Dan Tan Seet Eng, the man allegedly at the heart of a worldwide match-fixing ring said he just wants to live a quiet life now.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal ruled that the 51-year-old's detention without trial since October 2013 was unlawful. At 3.30pm, he walked out a free man.

His first stop was the offices of law firm Rajah and Tann in Battery Road.

"There he impressed upon us that after spending more than two years in prison, he is just looking forward to leading a quiet life without getting into any trouble with the law," one of Tan's lawyers, Mr Thong Chee Kun, told The Straits Times yesterday.


Tan, named by Interpol as "the leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate", has been linked to match-fixing across Europe, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey and Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Act allows criminals to be held without trial

  • The Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA) allows the Minister for Home Affairs, with the consent of the Public Prosecutor, to order the detention of suspected criminals without trial, if he deems it necessary "in the interests of public safety, peace and good order". The orders are up to a year and have to be reviewed annually.

    The Act lapses after five years unless it is renewed, which explains why it is "temporary".

    In October 2013, the CLTPA was passed in Parliament for the 13th time since it was introduced in 1955 during colonial times to fight organised crime, especially secret societies and gangsterism.

    According to last year's Singapore Prison Service annual report, there were 136 detainees as of Dec 31, 2014. Just two were women.

    A total of 99 were detained for secret society activity and 22 for illegal moneylending.

    Ng Huiwen

He was arrested, along with 13 others, in a series of police raids in September 2013.

His capture was praised by then Interpol chief Ronald Noble.

Yesterday, on his Twitter feed, Mr Noble slammed the decision to let Tan go, arguing against the court's ruling that his match-fixing activities outside of Singapore did not affect public safety here.

"Court is wrong! International match-fixing from Singapore affects its peace and good order as corrupt profits will be brought back to Singapore," he posted.

In a statement, football's world governing body, itself embroiled in a series of corruption scandals, said: "Fifa is very disappointed with the decision to release Mr Tan given the gravity of his past activities relating to match manipulation."

Despite the widespread coverage of his release, his ex-wife Guan Enmei was shocked to find out about his release from The Straits Times during a visit to her home in Cashew Crescent.

"Is it real?" the 41-year-old asked as she watched a video of Tan walking out of the Supreme Court. She was married to Tan for over a decade before getting a divorce when he was in detention.

She and Tan, who has been thrice married and has two sons from a previous marriage, have an 11-year-old son. The last time she saw Tan was about a year ago, she said.

Madam Guan, who was born in China and is now Singaporean, said they divorced over a multitude of reasons and "not about the case".

"I paid $20,000 of his lawyer fees... and his 13 watches, everything I have returned to him," she said. She said the watches included timepieces from Rolex and Bvlgari.

But she insisted that he rarely spoke to her about what he did for a living.

Now, she just wants to see her ex-husband one more time.

"If he has problems, and this house can solve it, I can give it to him," the housewife said, insisting that the three-storey condominium she lives in was bought with her own money.

She also wants to return to China, but said she cannot do so as her passport has been impounded by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau over her ex-husband's case.

As for their son, he can have custody. "I just want him to promise to take care of him and bring him up well," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'Alleged match-fixer 'just wants a quiet life now''. Print Edition | Subscribe