Mum of ex-table tennis player pleaded thrice to technical director before allegedly offering bribe

Su Fengxian, mother of former national table tennis player Li Hu, is accused of offering €2,000 (S$3,200) to Singapore Table Tennis Association technical director Loy Soo Han.
Su Fengxian, mother of former national table tennis player Li Hu, is accused of offering €2,000 (S$3,200) to Singapore Table Tennis Association technical director Loy Soo Han.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Former national player Li Hu was facing disciplinary action from the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and his mother pleaded three times to its technical director to show leniency to him, a district court heard on Tuesday (Oct 03).

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, 2016.

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 added: "It came to my senses 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."

When she left, Mr Loy said he locked his office door and reported the matter to STTA's chief executive officer, Ms Wong Hui Leng.

The court heard on Monday that Su had admitted in her statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) to offering the €2,000 to Mr Loy in exchange for his help in Mr Li's disciplinary case.

According to a statement on Oct 19, 2016, when a CPIB investigator asked her if the amount offered was a bribe, she replied: "No, it was just a thank-you gesture for him so that he can help my son."

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

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmin Kaur told the court on Tuesday that Su was in China when she received a call from her son on Oct 14, 2016.

Mr Li told her that he had breached this rule and was facing disciplinary action from STTA.

After he hung up, Su phoned Mr Loy to plead for leniency on his 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 gave STTA his resignation letter 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, 2016.

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

Mr Loy told Su 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 on Tuesday.

He added 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 (Oct 5).

In convicted of offering the bribe, Su can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.