SINGAPORE: The mother of former national table tennis player Li Hu was charged with corruption on Friday (Nov 25) for allegedly bribing officials to be lenient with her son.
Li, 28, had his contract terminated in October following a series of disciplinary breaches including insolence, insubordination and violation of house rules. He had breached the Singapore Table Tennis Association's (STTA) code of conduct by letting his girlfriend spend the night at his dormitory on several occasions.
On Oct 14, Li called his mother Su Fengxian, 54, to let her know disciplinary proceedings had been launched against him, a district court heard on Friday.
Su immediately called STTA technical director Loy Soo Han and pleaded with him to be lenient with her son. Mr Loy refused.
Three days later, Su, a Chinese national, flew to Singapore from Guangzhou to plead with Mr Loy in person. He told mother and son that Li’s case was before a disciplinary committee and out of his hands.
Hours later, Su allegedly offered €2,000 (S$3,026) to Mr Loy, “as an inducement … to show leniency in her son Li Hu’s disciplinary case with STTA,” her charge sheet stated.
When she was charged on Friday morning, Su said she would plead guilty to the charge.
However, at a hearing on Friday afternoon, she denied offering an envelope of cash to Mr Loy. She admitted she took it out of her handbag but claimed she did not hand it over.
Judge Adam Nakhoda said he could not accept Su’s plea, as her charge stated specifically that she “offered” the bribe to Mr Loy.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani, Mr Loy immediately called STTA’s chief Wong Hui Ling to let her know that Su had tried to bribe him.
Mr Loy also made a police report.
Su subsequently handed the envelope to her son. The money was later seized from Li’s dormitory by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
In a statement, the CPIB said that Singapore "adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption".
"The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau takes a serious view of any corrupt practices and will not hesitate to take action against any party involved in such acts," it said.
Su's case has been set for a pre-trial conference on Dec 1.
If she is convicted, she faces up to five years’ jail and a fine of up to S$100,000.