Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crime-Free Singapore

Question: “Why is Singapore so crime-free?”
Answer: “Singapore isn’t crime-free! We, Singaporeans, just suck at crime!”

In Singapore, that’s a running joke for comedians. However, it’s a running joke that needs to be revised as Singapore's reputation for being a crime-free city just got whacked by Europol.

Europol said that an international investigation involving 5 countries in Europe had identified 380 football matches in Europe whose results were targeted and influenced by a Singapore-based betting cartel. On top of these 380 matches, another further 300 suspicious matches outside Europe (in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America) have been identified by Europol as being “suspect”.

In total, investigators say they believe the Singapore-based betting cartel had a network of couriers that ferried bribes to pay off players and referees around the world. They believe about 425 corrupt officials and players spread over 15 countries were involved with the cartel.

Now Singapore's role in international match-rigging has long been clear. Infamous match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal was jailed in Finland and another Singaporean, Dan Tan, is still wanted in Italy over the "calcioscommesse" scandal. However, 680 matches that are spread out throughout the world?

Wow! I think there’s something wrong with me because I feel kind of proud of this. I mean these weren’t small games. Some of the 680 suspicious matches include qualifying games for the World Cup, the European Championships, and the European Champions League! That is about as big as you can get.

When Singaporeans do crime, we don’t do it small. For years, Singaporeans have been a punchline on how clean and crime-free our city is. No more! This is the end of that joke! 

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