Easy Int'l Transport, Gambling Culture Make Singapore Big Player In Match-Fixing
It is one of the world's smallest and wealthiest countries, but experts say that "a deep gambling culture coupled with sheer entrepreneurial zeal has made Singapore a big player in global match-fixing," according to the AFP. The arrests of two Singaporean men over a scandal in Britain "has again thrown a spotlight on the Southeast Asian city-state, known for its cleanliness, strict law and order and high number of millionaires." Despite such advantages, Singapore "is continually linked to match-rigging around the world, testament to a network that is proving hard to eradicate -- even when leading members are under arrest or police protection." Singapore's Wilson Raj Perumal, a "notorious fixer" who was jailed in Finland and is now under police protection in Hungary, "denied any involvement in the English scam after one of the suspects called him his 'boss.'" The latest developments "are part of a chain of events set in motion more than 20 years ago, when Perumal started fixing games in Singapore before moving abroad to escape the attentions of Singaporean police." Doha-based Int'l Centre for Sport Security Dir Chris Eaton said, "These Singaporean criminals recognized that there was money to be made in match-fixing at the low levels, and later translated this national skill, if I could say that, to the global platform." Eaton, a former Interpol officer and ex-head of security at FIFA, called Singapore the "epicenter of gambling in Southeast Asia." Easy int'l transport, a passport accepted around the world and fluency in English and Mandarin "have helped Singaporean fixers spread their influence abroad with the support of external investors, most believed to be from China" (AFP, 12/16).