The High Court yesterday allowed an appeal by the former wife of alleged match-fixing kingpin Dan Tan and reduced her sentence for lying to anti-graft investigators about two of Tan's laptops.
In cutting her jail term from two months to three weeks, Judicial Commissioner See Kee Oon said it was clear that "no appreciable harm" flowed from the false information 41-year-old Guan Enmei had given to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
The laptops did not contain any relevant or useful information and there was no evidence that her lie had delayed, hindered or diverted CPIB's investigations into her former husband's match-fixing activities, he noted.
"The crucial consideration in my view is that Madam Guan's conduct could not and did not prejudice the CPIB's investigations in any way or result in any miscarriage of justice," the judicial commissioner said in his oral grounds. Moreover, the laptops were already in the CPIB's "safe custody" when she gave the false information, he noted.
Tan, described by Interpol as "the leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate", is being detained without trial under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. Guan was Tan's third wife. She divorced him last year.
The crucial consideration in my view is that Madam Guan's conduct could not and did not prejudice the CPIB's investigations in any way or result in any miscarriage of justice.
JUDICIAL COMMISSIONER SEE KEE OON
On June 6, 2013, he was asked to report at the CPIB office. Before Tan left home, he told Guan to take two laptops, place them in a bag and take care of them until he got back. That afternoon, Guan was herself told to report to the bureau.
As her usual driver was unable to pick her up from home, he arranged for another driver to do so.
Guan boarded the car with a white Dior paper bag containing the laptops. On the way to the bureau, she phoned Tan's alleged accomplice, Eric Ding, for advice about the two laptops.
At the car drop-off point near the CPIB office, Guan met her usual driver and asked him to hold on to the bag for her until she came out of the building. He then waited with it at a nearby coffee shop, where it was later seized by anti-graft investigators.
A CPIB officer then asked Guan if she had taken along a bag with two laptops. She replied that she had left home with just a handbag.
In June, Guan was found guilty of giving false information to the officer and sentenced to two months' jail. The prosecution appealed, seeking four to six months' jail, while Guan appealed against her conviction and sentence.
The judicial commissioner dismissed the prosecution's appeal, rejecting its arguments that a harsher sentence was warranted as the false information was given in the context of high-profile investigations relating to an international match-fixing syndicate.