Busting a match-fixing ring is almost an impossible and thankless job, involving hours upon hours of incognito investigation that may or not may lead to anything substantially important.
But Singapore’s police took a major step recently when it arrested 14 people in the country for their alleged involvement in match-fixing. It was a bold and audacious move that comes seven months after the country was tagged by Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, as the epicenter of a global football match-fixing business that has had networks all over Asia and Europe for the past years.
The arrests were made earlier this week by the Singapore police and anti-corruption agency, which said that it had taken into custody 12 men and two women after a 12-hour sweep of the country. According to the police, the arrested individuals were arrested “on suspicion of being part of an organized crime group involved with match fixing activities”.
“Singapore is committed to eradicate match-fixing as a transnational crime and protect the integrity of the sport,” the police and anti-corruption agency said.
“All cases will be pursued vigorously with a view to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Of the 14 individuals arrested, nine of the detainees are expected to be released by the police on bail. As for the remaining five, which includes the suspected leader of the group, they are likely to be further detained because of pending additional investigations.
Upon learning of Europol’s findings back in February that pointed to the country as the base of the global match-fixing ring, Singapore has taken a pro-active approach in cracking down on the come, even sending some of its police officers to Europe to work with an Interpol task force.
It’s taken some time but give credit to Singapore authorities for pushing through with its attempts to crack down on the match-fixing ring. Here’s to hoping that this is the first of many arrests that ultimately cripples this syndicate.