Alleged match-fixing kingpin Dan Tan released from prison: 5 things to know about the 'Kelong King'

In a photo taken on Nov 25, 2015, Dan Tan Seet Eng (centre) is seen leaving the Supreme Court.
In a photo taken on Nov 25, 2015, Dan Tan Seet Eng (centre) is seen leaving the Supreme Court.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Alleged Singaporean football match-fixing kingpin Dan Tan Seet Eng was released from detention without trial in December last year.

Described as the leader of the "most aggressive" global match-fixing syndicate at one time, Mr Tan, 55, spent close to six years in prison after his alleged syndicate was busted by the Singapore authorities in September 2013.

Here are five things to know about Mr Tan, from the illegal activities to the arrest and re-arrest of the so-called Kelong (Malay term for gambling or cheating) King.

1. Leading a double life

Mr Tan seemingly led a double life, allegedly heading a match-fixing syndicate while working in Singapore as a salaried employee.

A secondary school dropout who lived in a condominium unit in Rivervale Crest, he was called "Ah Blur" by his friends, who said he was often unfazed by his surroundings.

Mr Tan was known to have a keen eye for investments, building a prolific portfolio in the share market over the years. He was also known to be an avid gambler, betting on horse-racing and football.

2. Behind bars for gambling offences

His gambling activities landed him in trouble with the law in the 1990s when he was jailed for related offences, including being an illegal horse-racing and football bookmaker. He served less than a year for his crimes.

He was said to have fled Singapore in 1994 after losing more than $1.5 million betting on that year's World Cup. But he returned when his creditors agreed to let him pay his debt in instalments.

3. Global match-fixing run that ended with arrest

Eventually, Mr Tan allegedly set up a ring said to have rigged more than 150 matches in various countries, including Italy, Hungary, Finland and Nigeria.

 
 
 
 

He is believed to have started match-fixing activities around 2009.

Wanted in Italy and Hungary, the businessman was among 14 Singaporeans arrested in 2013.

They were nabbed on suspicion of being part of an organised group of match-fixers in an islandwide crackdown in Singapore.

The 12-hour operation, which ended in the early hours of Sept 18, 2013, was led by the Criminal Investigation Department and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), with support from the police.

Mr Tan was issued detention orders under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA), which allows suspects to be held by the police without trial.

After Mr Tan's arrest, his alleged match-fixing ring was believed to have ceased operations in Singapore.

4. Framed by his business partner

Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, now under house arrest in Hungary, was said to be among those who supplied betting tips to Mr Tan. The duo reportedly went on to become business partners.

However, they fell out over an investment deal with Finnish football club Tampere United, in which Wilson Raj planned to use the club ownership to manipulate the team's results.

Their subsequent split eventually led to the arrest of Wilson Raj in Finland in 2011. He insisted he was betrayed by Mr Tan.

In documents submitted to the High Court for the closed-door judicial review of his detention, Mr Tan claimed Wilson Raj had framed him after they fell out.

5. Released, re-arrested, then released again

In 2015, Mr Tan was released from prison on an appeal petition two years after his initial detention.

 
 

Six days later, he was re-arrested for "suspected involvement in criminal activities" and again detained under the  CLTPA.

He was finally released in December 2019 on a Police Supervision Order.

The order includes conditions such as electronic tagging, weekly reporting to the Police, curfews and prohibition from communicating with other police supervisees.

Source: The Straits Times