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Phuket Gazette Sports: Global soccer fixing scam exposed

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– World sports news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Investigators expose global match-fixing network

Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Hundreds of soccer matches have been fixed in a global betting scam run from Singapore, police said on Monday, in a blow to the image of the world’s most popular sport and a multi-billion dollar industry.

About 680 suspicious matches including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and the Champions League for top European club sides, have been identified in an inquiry by European police forces, the European anti-crime agency Europol, and national prosecutors.

“This is a sad day for European football,” said Rob Wainwright, director of Europol. “This is now an integrity issue for football. Those responsible for running the games should hear the warnings.”

The matches in question were played between 2008 and 2011, the investigators said. About 380 of the suspicious matches were played in Europe, and a further 300 were identified in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Corruption linked to Asian betting syndicates and organised crime has long been seen as a threat to the game, but Monday’s announcement underlines the scale of the problem.

Ralf Mutschke, Director of Security for world soccer’s governing body FIFA, said sports bodies and prosecutors needed to work more closely together.

“The support of law enforcement bodies, legal investigations, and ultimately tougher sanctions are required, as currently there is low risk and high gain potential for the fixers,” said Mutschke, a German former police officer.

Last year the head of an anti-corruption watchdog estimated that US$1 trillion was gambled on sport each year – or US$3 billion a day – with most coming from Asia and wagered on soccer matches.

Singapore Connection

A German investigator described a network involving couriers ferrying bribes around the world, paying off players and referees in the fixing which involved about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries.

“We have evidence for 150 of these cases, and the operations were run out of Singapore with bribes of up to 100,000 euros paid per match,” said Friedhelm Althans, chief investigator for police in the German city of Bochum.

Singapore police said last month that they were helping Italian authorities to investigate alleged soccer match fixing involving a Singaporean, but said he had not been arrested or charged with any offence there.

German investigators said international matches were implicated as were games in Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Bosnia, Slovenia and Canada. Suspicious games had also been identified in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Fourteen people have already been convicted in Germany in connection with the investigation.

Austrian prosecutors are investigating 20 people, including players, on suspicion of fraud and money laundering linked to fixing and betting on soccer matches, a spokesman for prosecutors in the city of Graz said.

Investigators said no names of players or clubs would be released while the investigation proceeded. However, the fixing also included top flight national league matches in several European countries, as well as two Champions League matches, including one played in Britain.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, said it expected to receive further information from Europol in the coming days.

England’s Football Association said it was not aware of any “credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England.”

Tip of the iceberg

Althans said that while German police had concrete proof of 8 million euros (US$11 million) in gambling profits from the match fixing, this was probably the tip of the iceberg.

Investigators described how gang members immediately subordinate to the Singapore-based leader of a worldwide network were each tasked with maintaining contacts with corrupt players and officials in their parts of the world.

Laszlo Angeli, a Hungarian prosecutor, gave an example of how the scam worked. “The Hungarian member, who was immediately below the Singapore head, was in touch with Hungarian referees who could then attempt to swing matches at which they officiated around the world,” he said.

Accomplices would then place bets on the internet or by phone with bookmakers in Asia, where bets that would be illegal in Europe were accepted. “One fixed match might involve up to 50 suspects in 10 countries on separate continents,” said Althans.

— Reuters

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket tightens restrictions: No parties, no visits from friends

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo by PR Phuket

No, your friends can’t come over. No parties. No drinking with friends. No large gatherings. As part of Phuket’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, local authorities have tightened restrictions and say friends are not allowed to gather at private homes.

“No parties of any kind allowed… No house party, no friends gathering in the residence.”

Along with temporary closures of some businesses and venues, the order says, parties involving alcohol are banned and gatherings of more than 30 people are banned. The only gatherings allowed are religious ceremonies like weddings and funerals.

Foreigners who violate any of Phuket’s disease control measures could be deported and lose their permission to stay in Thailand. On Sunday, 2 British men in Phuket were each fined 6,000 baht for having a “party.” Only 6 people were gathered at the home. Police from the Cherng Talay station came by the home after a call from a neighbour.

Phuket tightens restrictions: No parties, no visits from friends | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 organisers of Phuket’s Kolour superspreader event charged

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 3 managers involved in the Kolour superspreader event have been charged.

As Thailand still wrestles to control the third wave of Covid-19, much of which stems from entertainment venues in Bangkok and a massive party in Phuket, Patong police announced that the managers of the Phuket venues that hosted the Kolour superspreader event will be charged under the Emergency Decree. The case report was filed with the public prosecutor yesterday according to the Patong police chief, confirming that 3 people will be prosecuted for the event.

The Kolour Beachside Festival was held April 2 and 3 with events at CafΓ© Del Mar Phuket in Kamala, and Shelter Phuket Dance and Night Club and Illuzion Nightclub, both in Patong. Before the festival, Phuket had gone more than a hundred days without any new Covid-19 infections, but by April 7 the Phuket provincial Public Health office announced 8 new infections, half of which had been at the Kolour parties. In the following weeks, officials plead for attendees to be tested as infections spread.

Charges were delayed in being filed to the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s office as a special investigation committee was ordered to be created to oversee the investigation at the request of Region 8’s Police Commander. That committee brought together officials from various law enforcement in the area including the Patong Police, Kamala Police, Phuket Provincial Police, and the Region 8 Police to investigate the Kolour event before anyone was charged.

The manager of CafΓ© Del Mar, along with the managing director and the manager of Shelter and Illuzion, which are under the same management team, will be charged for the Kolour festival violating Thailand’s Emergency Decree that was declared to help protect the country from Covid-19 outbreaks. A breach of the Emergency Decree can be held liable for up to 40,000 Baht and 2 years in jail under Section 9 of the Decree.

The latter 2 are also facing charges of operating an unlicensed entertainment venue. This carries the possibility of another year in prison and a fine of up to 60,000 baht, in accordance with Thai Law under Section 26 of the Entertainment Place Act.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Road deaths

Phuket woman impaled by steel rod in motorbike accident

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: CCTV footage shows the Woman impaled in a motorbike crash.

Police were called to the scene of a gruesome motorbike accident just after midnight in the Kathu area of Phuket, where a woman was impaled by a steel rod. The 34 year old woman crashed her motorbike into a concrete power pole on Wichit Songkram Rd between the Kathu Shrine and Kathu Municipality. rescue workers responded, and together with police, they arrived to find the woman still hanging from the power pole.

Khanuengnit Onoaun was driving a black and pink Honda Click motorbike and may have been speeding just before being impaled by the rod on the electric pole. Her motorbike was lying nearby the pole with significant damage to the front of the bike and the front wheel.

CCTV footage recovered from the scene suggest that the woman may have fallen asleep and crashed into the power pole. The pole had steel rods protruding from its side that utility workers use to climb when service or repairs are needed to the electrical lines, which is what impaled her when her motorbike hit the pole.

The metal rod pierced the woman’s upper chest and went all the way through her body with about 2 inches exposed on the other side of her as she hung from the pole. Rescue workers could not remove her from the steel rod at the scene of the accident safely and instead chose to cut the rod to take her off the electric pole and into an ambulance. Cutting through the steel took about 5 minutes for the rescuers.

She arrived and was admitted into Vachira Phuket Hospital with the metal rod still impaled through her chest. The hospital had no updates about the woman’s condition after her motorbike crash other than that she is alive and receiving treatment currently. The police plan on questioning her once she has had time to recover and investigating the incident further if necessary.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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