Ron Noble, the secretary general of law enforcement agency Interpol, has praised the work of the Singapore authorities for the arrest of the ringleader of the world’s largest football match-fixing syndicate last week.
Southeast Asia has been in the spotlight since February when European police revealed that one Singapore-based syndicate was responsible for match-fixing at least 380 games in Europe.
The syndicate was broken up when Singapore's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) made 14 arrests last week -- 12 men and two women -- including the reported 'mastermind' Tan Seet Eng, also known as Dan Tan, who was named by Italian prosecutors.
"I'm confident that Singapore law enforcement authorities have arrested the mastermind and leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate," Noble told reporters in Singapore on Monday. "It is significant because this syndicate is considered the world’s largest and most aggressive match-fixing syndicate with tentacles reaching every continent and the masterminded was someone many believed was untouchable."
Nine of the 14 have been released on bail while the other five are still being questioned, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs but Noble was impressed by the Singapore authorities.
"I was very, very proud of Singapore because for so many years Singapore has been criticised for not investigating when in fact the evidence wasn't sure with Singapore because of the ongoing criminal investigations in Europe," Noble added. "I was really proud that Singapore conducted this investigation on its soil, using its own laws and resources and we were able to bring some of the people to justice."
The syndicate made a reported £6million when it was operational and Noble insisted that the work to break up match-fixing rings was never ending.
"I believe that fighting match-fixing and corruption in sports is a lifelong battle and just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't going on," he said. "It is the kind of crime that if you don't investigate it all of the time it will just blow up in your face and it is never going to go away."
Information from Reuters was used in this report.