Businessman Eric Ding jailed three years for bribing football match officials

Eric Ding Si Yang. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Businessman Eric Ding Si Yang, who was jailed 36-months for bribing three football match officials, will start his prison sentence after a request for his bail to be extended was denied by the court on Thursday.

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong ruled that there was a risk of Ding absconding, which must be balanced against Singapore's international standing.

An Attorney-General's Chambers spokesman said prosecutors intend to file a notice of appeal against the 36-month jail sentence. They had on Tuesday argued for a jail term of four to six years, and a fine of between $120,000 and $300,000 for Ding.

The defence, led by lawyer Hamidul Haq told the court that Ding will be appealing against both his conviction and sentence.

In sentencing earlier, District Judge Toh said Ding was part of an "organised group" to carry out match-fixing activities, which has brought sport in Singapore into disrepute. But he rejected the prosecution's view that Ding was part of an international match-fixing syndicate - as masterminded by Dan Tan, who is now under detention - on the account of insufficient evidence.

The rise of online betting has also meant that the harm caused by match-fixing today is greater than that in earlier offences, because one can "hide behind the anonymity of the Internet". This has also made such crimes difficult to prosecute, the judge said.

But he declined to impose a heavy fine because "no match was actually fixed and there was no evidence that the Accused had benefited financially as a result of the offences committed".

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