Ex-national paddler's mum starts jail term for graft

Su Fengxian withdrew her appeal yesterday, the day it was scheduled to be heard.
Su Fengxian withdrew her appeal yesterday, the day it was scheduled to be heard.

The mother of a former national table tennis player who offered a bribe to an official to be lenient to her son in disciplinary proceedings started serving her six-week jail term yesterday.

After she was sentenced in January, Su Fengxian had filed an appeal against her conviction and sentence and was out on bail.

But she told the High Court yesterday, the day her appeal was scheduled to be heard, that she was withdrawing the appeal. She was not represented by a lawyer.

Su, 54, was found guilty after a three-day trial of offering €2,000 (S$3,200) to Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) technical director Loy Soo Han in October 2016.

She was sentenced to six weeks' jail by the judge, who said there was public interest in protecting the integrity of the STTA, which oversees one of the core sports here.

Her son Li Hu was a national player and one-time world junior singles champion.

In October 2016, the 29-year-old was hauled before an STTA disciplinary committee for violating house rules in allowing a female friend to spend a night at the STTA hostel in Toa Payoh.

Su was in China when she received a call from her son on Oct 14, 2016.

After he told her about the disciplinary matter, Su called Mr Loy to plead for leniency on her son's behalf. However, her pleas failed to move Mr Loy, and Mr Li handed in his resignation letter to the STTA.

Days later on Oct 17, Su arrived in Singapore at around 7am and went to STTA to meet Mr Loy to again plead for leniency. When he still stood firm, she offered him an envelope filled with the cash.

The prosecution had pressed for at least four months' jail but Su's former defence counsel Alfred Dodwell had asked for a fine of not more than $2,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-national paddler's mum starts jail term for graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe