By Safhras Khan, Nigel Chin and Dhany Osman
Police officers raided the premises of the Football Association of Singapore, Tiong Bahru Football Club and Hougang United Football Club on Thursday afternoon (20 April) following a police report filed by Sport Singapore (SportSG) over the alleged misuse of funds at Tiong Bahru FC. A raid was also believed to have been carried out around the same time at Woodlands Wellington Football Club.
Yahoo Singapore understands that four individuals entered the premises of the Tiong Bahru FC at People’s Park Centre at about 4 pm. Members of the club were ushered out and the main door was then locked. At about 5.15 pm, three men and two women entered the clubhouse with several cardboard boxes.
At about 6.15 pm two men, dressed in office attire and carrying black sling bags, left the clubhouse. When approached by reporters, the men remained silent and waved the reporters away before taking the staircase near the side entrance of the building.
At about 7 pm, two women and a man were seen unplugging two computers and removing some files from the club’s reception area.
At Hougang Stadium, an unmarked police car was seen parked outside at a car park. At about 7.15pm, a police van arrived at the location. Police officers took about 10 minutes to move over 20 boxes to the police van.
At about 8.10pm, Hougang United general manager Matthew Tay was seen leaving in an unmarked police car.
Separately, four plainclothes police officers arrived at the FAS office and headed straight into the finance department at around 5.30pm.
FAS General-Secretary Winston Lee arrived at about 6.20pm and went to his office, where the police officers were. At about 7.30pm, the officers began moving cardboard boxes from the finance department into a meeting room.
Election will go on
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A statement from FAS at about 1am on Friday acknowledged the raid. “As part of their investigations, officers from the Singapore Police Force visited the Football Association of Singapore on Thursday evening. We have extended, and will continue to extend, our fullest cooperation to the SPF during their investigation.
“As investigations are ongoing, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on the matter.”
In response to media queries from Yahoo Singapore on whether officers from the Commercial Affairs Department were at the premises of the FAS and the clubs, a spokesman from the Singapore Police Force declined to comment.
Police report filed by SportSG
On Thursday, SportSG, the governing sports body, said in a statement that it filed the report against Tiong Bahru FC, owned by businessman Bill Ng, over “serious questions” about the use of club funds.
SportSG said it received a tip-off from someone alleging that a senior official of Tiong Bahru FC had instigated another club to delay or obstruct the completion of audits until after the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Elections on 29 April with “false reasons”.
The statement added, “Following the media reports that Tiong Bahru Football Club had donated $500,000 to the ASEAN Football Federation through the FAS, SportSG looked into the matter, and received further information on 18 April 2017.”
Based on legal advice, SportSG filed a police report on 19 April at about 7.50pm “in respect of suspected misuse of Tiong Bahru Football Club’s funds and a purported attempt by a senior officer of the Club to delay and/or obstruct the completion of audits into the S.League sit-out clubs”.
The police also confirmed Thursday that SportSG had filed the police report. “In response to media queries, the Police confirm that a police report has been lodged by Sport Singapore in relation to a football club,” the police said in a statement.