Posting on Twitter after the judgment was released, Mr Ronald Noble, who stepped down as INTERPOL secretary-general in November last year, said: “Singaporean’s corruption of sport and business outside of Singapore does not affect its good order. Wrong!”
This is in response to Singapore’s highest court deciding to release Dan Tan Seet Eng under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. Alleged king match-fixer Dan Tan Seet Eng is a free man, after the Court of Appeal ordered his release from detention on Wednesday (Nov 25).The three-judge Court of Appeal ordered Tan’s release and called his detention without trial “unlawful”.
Tan has been detained without trial since October 2013, under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. The Act gives the Home Affairs Minister power to detain without trial “a person who has been associated with activities of a criminal nature … if the Minister deems it necessary in the interests of public safety, peace and good order”, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon wrote. The law has been criticised as a violation of human rights by activists.
Mr Noble also said Singapore is compromising peace and order if it is “shelter in its midst international organised crime groups”. “Match-fixing is a corruption like cancer, dangerous whether it is visible or not … Today’s decision should make us all question whether international match-fixing based in Singapore can be stopped. If it can’t, the rest of the world will continue to pay the price.”
When Singapore authorities moved in to crackdown on Tan and 13 others in 2013, Mr Noble had praised the Singapore authorities’ commitment to eradicate match-fixing, whom he described as “the world’s largest and most aggressive match-fixing syndicate, with tentacles reaching every continent and the mastermind was someone many believed was untouchable”.
COURT RULING “OUT OF TOUCH”
Former FIFA Head of Security Chris Eaton, who was also from INTERPOL, called the Court of Appeal’s ruling “out of touch”. In his opinion, this would put Singapore “back into the firing line” as a target of criticism by the global sporting community.
“While Dan Tan was in Singapore, no doubt using Singaporean communication facilities and public places to plan and engage people to do unlawful acts outside of Singapore, that is okay, just so long as Singapore is okay! This is the sort of attitude that turned the world of sport into roundly criticising Singapore as hypocritical by not showing good global citizenship,” said Mr Eaton.
Echoing Mr Noble, Mr Eaton said the apex court’s decision “confirms the worst international fears” that Singaporeans who commit international crimes can be off the hook “so long as Singapore and Singaporeans are not directly affected”.