A 30-year-old Singaporean man, Poh Wei Hao, has been sentenced to eight months in jail for his involvement in fixing basketball matches in Thailand and multiple graft-related offenses, The Straits Times reported.
The court disclosed that Poh, alongside his accomplice, 33-year-old Koa Wei Quan, conspired to manipulate outcomes in the Thailand Basketball League (TBL) for their personal gain.
The saga unfolds with the duo’s shared past as professional basketball players for an undisclosed local club in 2009. Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryan Wong revealed that in 2017 or 2018, Koa stumbled upon Poh’s illegal online sports betting activities, leading to a sinister plan to fix matches and increase their chances of winning bets.
Their devious collaboration involved discussions on the Thailand Basketball League via a secretive Facebook group. The court documents outlined their attempts to engage two Filipino players, Almond Pineda Vosotros and Leonidez Zapata Avenido, to manipulate TBL matches.
The first incident occurred on July 1, 2018, where Vosotros agreed to ensure PEA’s defeat against the Mono Vampire basketball club in exchange for S$1,000. Koa, aware of the arrangement, provided money to Poh, who then delivered the promised sum to Vosotros in Bangkok.
However, their plans hit a snag when an attempt to fix another match fell through. Vosotros, expecting S$1,500 for his cooperation, was left empty-handed as Poh informed him that the deal was off due to complications in placing the desired bets.
The court proceedings, shrouded in mystery regarding the identity of the local club involved, have left the public speculating about the extent of corruption within the basketball community. Koa’s case is still pending, leaving a cloud of uncertainty over whether further revelations will emerge.
The gravity of the charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act becomes evident, with each graft charge carrying the potential for up to five years in jail and a hefty fine of S$100,000.