Football

Media gathers from morning as raids at FAS, football clubs continue into the night

Media gathers from morning as raids at FAS, football clubs continue into the night
FAS general secretary Winston Lee arriving at the FAS office on Thursday night (April 20). Photo: Wee Teck Hian/TODAY
Patrons at Tiong Bahru clubhouse told to leave, assets seized as cops swoop in
Published: 4:00 AM, April 21, 2017
Updated: 9:06 AM, April 21, 2017

SINGAPORE — Long before Sport Singapore’s announcement at 4.47pm yesterday that it had lodged a police report against Tiong Bahru Football Club (TBFC), crowds had already gathered at both the National Football League Division 2 side’s clubhouse at People’s Park Centre in Upper Cross Street, as well as the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) office at Jalan Besar Stadium.

But these crowds were not jackpot enthusiasts or football fans. Instead, they were journalists and photographers from various media organisations who rushed to the two hotspots in the morning after hearing that police could be making their way there.

However, the action took place hours later. At 3.50pm, a team of four Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) investigators arrived at TBFC’s clubhouse. Soon after, patrons at the clubhouse were asked to leave. There were around 30 of them, mostly senior citizens, all looking bemused, chattering excitedly among themselves and asking the media what was going on.

The clubhouse was then shuttered. Later, a group of men and women carrying empty cardboard boxes entered the premises. In a sign that it was going to be a long night at the clubhouse, a food delivery man appeared at 6.20pm. Two computers were also seen being dismantled and taken away to the back of the clubhouse, as more carton boxes, and two trolleys, were brought into the office.

Meanwhile, a team of officers was already at work at FAS headquarters. They had arrived at 5.30pm with laptops and briefcases. Entering the office, they asked the FAS staff at the reception desk to see the person in charge.

FAS finance director Murtada Ahmad soon emerged from his office, and he and staff were seen talking to them before escorting them into the association’s admin and finance office.

The officers later settled into two meeting rooms, as documents and files were brought to these rooms.

Looking tired, FAS general secretary Winston Lee appeared at around 6.20pm, but did not speak to the media. He was then seen entering the meeting rooms.

At 8.45pm, officers were still seen inside the building. Investigators also went to the Woodlands Wellington clubhouse at Prinsep Street, and the Hougang United clubhouse at the Hougang Stadium yesterday. The raids continued late into the night. Officers at Hougang were later seen loading filled cardboard boxes into police vans.

Hougang United general manager Matthew Tay and an unidentified Woodlands Wellington staff were also seen being driven off in police vehicles.