Former MP Choo Wee Khiang, ex-national paddler Koh Li Ping acquitted

Former MP and president of the Singapore Table Tennis Association Choo Wee Khiang, seen here with lawyer K Muralidharan Pillai, has been cleared. (Yahoo! file photo)

Former member of parliament (MP) Choo Wee Khiang and ex-national table tennis player Koh Li Ping were acquitted on Friday of one charge of criminal breach of trust.

Choo, 58, was accused of committing the offence in 2005 during his tenure as the president of the Singapore Table Tennis Association.

He had been on trial for misappropriating $8,400 of the organisation’s funds to pay Luo Jie, a former assistant coach, for coaching students of Fuhua Secondary School between 2001 and 2003.

The former MP for the ruling People’s Action Party had also faced three other charges of corruptly using association funds to pay for personal expenses but the prosecution proceeded only on the criminal breach of trust charge.

Koh was also on trial for abetting Choo’s criminal breach of trust. She was at that time the STTA’s high performance manager who processed the $8,400 payment to Luo Jie, who was at that time the assistant coach of the then-national team players.

In his ruling, District Judge Liew Thiam Leng said that although Choo was an agent of STTA, the prosecution was not able to show that he was guilty of dishonest misappropriation because the funds were marked for paying the coach.

Liew also said that this is a contractual matter, hence Luo was entitled to the payment.

While Choo was calm and composed through, an anxious Koh was visibly relieved when the verdict was announced.

“The most important thing is that I have managed to clear my name after two years,” she said in Mandarin.

"I have had a lot of stress, and I did not go back home the past year because I feel sorry for my parents. They were in shock," she said.

"I was an accomplished player before, but now I was accused in court. After this verdict, I can finally go back home to sleep," she added.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Teo

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