Four people charged after 2017 police probe into local football clubs
Four individuals were charged in the State Courts on Tuesday for obstructing police investigations and forging statements of local football clubs Hougang United and Woodlands Wellington. These had occurred in the build-up to the first Football Association of Singapore (FAS) elections in 2017.
The four who have been charged are Gary Tan, Sng Kian Peng, Kaw Lai Fong and Lau Chee Yoong.
On Tuesday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued a media statement to confirm that after close to five years, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has completed investigations into a police report lodged by national sports agency Sport SG that alleged, among others, the misuse of funds by Tiong Bahru Football Club (TBFC) and a purported attempt to obstruct audits of football clubs that did not participate in the S-League in 2017.
The SPF also confirmed that “after careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case as disclosed by investigations, and with the concurrence of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, there will be no further action taken against other individuals in respect of the other matters reported in the Police report”.
These individuals include former FAS president Zainudin Nordin, former FAS general secretary Winston Lee, Hougang United and Tiong Bahru chairman Bill Ng and his wife Bonnie Wong, who was the landlord of the Tiong Bahru clubhouse. It was previously reported that the quartet had been arrested and questioned by the CAD.
An AGC spokesman had told The Straits Times in 2021 that it had “directed the CAD to take no further action against” Zainudin and Lee.
When contacted, Zainudin and Ng said they consider the chapter closed and declined comment, while Lee could not be reached.
In a case that stunned the local football fraternity, the 2017 police probe was sparked by a revelation of a $500,000 donation by amateur club Tiong Bahru through the FAS to the Asean Football Federation. This was while Ng was contesting against the late Lim Kia Tong for the FAS presidency.
In the end, Lim won as his Team LKT received 30 votes to the 13 votes for Ng’s Game Changers.
A police raid was carried out at the FAS’ Jalan Besar headquarters, and the clubhouses of Hougang United, a professional team in the S-League (now rebranded the Singapore Premier League), Tiong Bahru and inactive former S-League side Woodlands.
Of the four individiuals who have been charged, former Woodlands chairman Tan and Sng are directors of ESW Holdings. They were charged with obstruction of justice, and allegedly instructed their staff to replace all the hard disks in their computers, with the intention of preventing CAD from having access to them.
Kaw, who was then Tiong Bahru general manager and Woodlands treasurer, was also charged with obstruction of justice by allegedly concealing her mobile phone from the CAD and lying about its whereabouts.
Those convicted of obstructing, preventing, perverting, or defeating the course of justice can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.
Lau, an audit assistant at M/s Chan Leng Leng & Co, had audited Woodlands and Hougang’s financial statements at the time.
He was charged with two counts of forgery, for allegedly forging the financial statements of both clubs for the financial year ending in Dec 31, 2015, by fraudulently affixing the signature of the firm’s sole proprietor, Chan Leng Leng, in the independent auditors’ report of the financial statements.
Those convicted of forgery can be jailed for up to four years and fined for each charge.
The quartet are out on bail for $15,000 each. Kaw’s case will be heard again on Wednesday as she wants to make an application to leave Singapore for a trip on Friday, while the others will be back in court on March 21.
* Additional reporting by David Sun
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