Ex-national paddler's mother pleaded with officials for leniency

Su Fengxian is accused of trying to offer STTA technical director Loy Soo Han €2,000 to be lenient towards her son, Mr Li Hu.
Su Fengxian is accused of trying to offer STTA technical director Loy Soo Han €2,000 to be lenient towards her son, Mr Li Hu.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

She allegedly tried to bribe STTA technical director after third try to get him to go easy on her son

Former national player Li Hu was facing disciplinary action from the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and his mother pleaded three times with its technical director to show leniency to him, a district court heard yesterday.

When Chinese national Su Fengxian, now 55, failed to sway Mr Loy Soo Han after her third attempt, she allegedly tried to offer him a bribe of €2,000 (S$3,200) on Oct 17 last year.

Mr Loy, who testified on the second day of her corruption trial, told District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt that she took out an envelope containing the money from her bag.

He said that it dawned on him what she was trying to do. "So I stopped her and asked her to leave my office. My tone was a bit louder. She took a look at me, paused and replaced the envelope... Maybe she was shocked, so she didn't say anything."

Last October, Mr Li, 29, was hauled before an STTA disciplinary committee for violating house rules. The former world junior singles champion had let his girlfriend spend a night at the STTA hostel, located at its Toa Payoh headquarters.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmin Kaur told the court that Su was in China when she received a call from her son on Oct 14 last year. Mr Li told Su that he had breached this rule and was facing disciplinary action from the STTA.

After he hung up, Su phoned Mr Loy to plead for leniency on her son's behalf. However, her pleas failed to move Mr Loy.

DPP Kaur said Mr Li contacted STTA president Ellen Lee via Facebook Messenger that day to plead for leniency.

In response, Ms Lee said that the matter would be referred to the disciplinary committee. Mr Li handed his resignation letter to the STTA that day, said DPP Kaur.

The court heard that Su also contacted Ms Lee via Facebook Messenger the next day to plead for leniency before arriving in Singapore at around 7am on Oct 17 last year.

She made a beeline for the STTA and pleaded with Mr Loy for leniency for the second time when they met about two hours later.

Mr Loy told her that the matter was before a disciplinary committee and was out of his hands. He went for a meeting shortly after talking to her, he testified yesterday .

He said that the meeting ended at around 11am and he was sitting in his office when Su walked in.

He said: "I think Li Hu stood outside the door. No one else was present. She said she wanted to invite me for lunch. I told her that I didn't have time to eat."

She pleaded for leniency for the third time after this and allegedly took out the cash-filled envelope when Mr Loy stood firm.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-national paddler's mother pleaded with officials for leniency'. Print Edition | Subscribe