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Singapore teen gets probation for sending death threats to Premier League footballer Neal Maupay on Instagram

Singapore teen gets probation for sending death threats to Premier League footballer Neal Maupay on Instagram

Brighton's Neal Maupay reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England, Sunday, May 9, 2021. (Tim Keeton/Pool via AP)

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean teenager who sent Instagram messages to English Premier League (EPL) footballer Neal Maupay, threatening to kill him and his family, was sentenced to nine months' probation on Wednesday (Jul 7).

Derek Ng De Ren, 19, will also have to perform 40 hours of community service and undergo psychological or psychiatric treatment, and take medication if required.

His mother furnished a bond of S$5,000 to ensure his good behaviour during the period of probation.

Ng pleaded guilty last month to two counts under the Protection from Harassment Act for intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress. Two other charges were taken into consideration.

He was a junior college student when he watched an EPL football match between Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club and Arsenal Football Club at his grandmother's home in Singapore, on Jun 20, 2020.

Ng, an Arsenal supporter, was angered after his team's goalkeeper was injured in an incident involving the victim, the Brighton forward.

The victim scored the winning goal, and Ng blamed him for the Arsenal goalkeeper's injury.

Four days later, Ng used an Instagram account with no identifying details to send a threatening message to the victim.

He wrote on Jun 24 last year: "You think you will get away for injuring Leno? No way in hell bruv... But don't worry you will be safe you won't be hurt. It's more fun watching you feel pain when your loved ones go through suffering."

In the two days after this, he sent the following messages to the victim: "I will f*** you up" and "Your family will be attacked later in the day just watch".

Mr Maupay did not respond to the messages but reported them to EPL's online abuse reporting system. Instagram later blocked Ng's anonymous account.

However, Ng created a new account on Jul 1, 2020 and sent the victim another message: "You think by reporting my account you're safe? I will kill you and your family."

The victim felt distressed, believing Ng's threats to be legitimate and credible. He and his family did not leave their home as far as possible as they were afraid of being attacked.

An EPL representative in Singapore filed a police report on Aug 11, 2020, saying Mr Maupay had received abusive messages on his Instagram account from a person believed to be a Singaporean.

The prosecutor did not object to the calling of a probation report, but asked for a reformative training suitability report to be prepared as well.

He said this case is part of a "real and rising trend of offending behaviour, leveraging technology to cause far-reaching psychological harm to unsuspecting victims without fear of repercussions".

The threats were not mild, added the prosecutor, and were able to cause harm to the victim about 16,000km away. 

Mr Maupay said in a previous statement that the "vile and toxic abuse" he received was a "daily occurrence for many professional athletes and public figures".

He added that he hoped this goes some way in showing online trolls that it is "totally unacceptable and that the authorities are prepared to take the necessary action".

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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