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Teen admits harassing, sending death threat to Premier League footballer Neal Maupay on Instagram

SINGAPORE — A teenager and supporter of Arsenal Football Club pleaded guilty on Wednesday (June 2) to harassing English Premier League footballer Neal Maupay — including threatening to kill him and his family last year.

Derek Ng De Ren sent threatening messages to footballer Neal Maupay via social network Instagram.

Derek Ng De Ren sent threatening messages to footballer Neal Maupay via social network Instagram.

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  • Derek Ng De Ren, 19, was upset over a Premier League match between football clubs Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion
  • He sent Brighton footballer Neal Maupay four threatening messages via Instagram
  • He used anonymous accounts and threatened to kill Maupay, his family
  • Ng is due to be sentenced on July 7

 

SINGAPORE — A teenager and supporter of Arsenal Football Club pleaded guilty on Wednesday (June 2) to harassing English Premier League footballer Neal Maupay — including threatening to kill him and his family last year.

Singaporean Derek Ng De Ren, 19, became upset after Maupay, a French national playing for the Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, tackled Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno during a Premier League match in June last year.

Maupay went on to score the winning goal, causing Arsenal to lose 2-1. Leno had to be taken off the pitch after suffering a serious knee injury.

Ng later used anonymous accounts on social network Instagram to send four threatening messages to Maupay over eight days.

Ng, who committed the acts from Singapore, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Protection from Harassment Act for using threatening words against the footballer. 

Two other charges will be taken into consideration during sentencing on July 7.

Under the Act, offenders in Singapore who harass anyone overseas can be prosecuted here.

District Judge May Mesenas called for reports to assess if Ng is suitable for probation or reformative training.

Probation is usually offered to first-time offenders between the ages of 16 and 21. It does not lead to a recorded criminal conviction and allows young offenders to carry on with their education or employment while serving their sentences.

Reformative training, a regimented rehabilitation programme for young offenders who commit relatively serious crimes, is a more severe punishment.

The court heard that Ng was a junior college student and watched the game between Arsenal and Brighton on television around 10pm on June 20 last year.

Angered by Maupay’s goal and blaming him for Leno’s injury, he used an Instagram account to send three messages to Maupay.

Four days after the match, he threatened Maupay: “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.” 

The day after, Ng sent the footballer an expletive. And a day later, he wrote: “Your family will be attacked later in the day just watch.”

Maupay did not respond to the messages and reported them through the Premier League’s online abuse reporting system. The league's legal team later tracked down the location of the culprit.

Instagram later blocked Ng’s account, which had no identifying details.

About a week later, on July 1 last year, Ng created an anonymous Instagram account with a similar name.

He sent Maupay a fourth message: “You think by reporting my account you’re safe? I will kill you and your family.”

Maupay was distressed and believed Ng’s threats to be “legitimate and credible”. He and his family did not leave their home as far as possible for fear of being attacked.

A Premier League representative in Singapore filed a police report against Ng on Aug 11 last year.

In seeking reports for probation and reformative training, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin said that the case was “part of a real and rising trend of offending behaviour, leveraging on technology to cause far-reaching psychological harm to unsuspecting victims without fear of repercussions”.

Ng’s threats, the prosecutor added, were not mild and he had been able to cause material harm to Maupay who was some 10,000km away.

Ng’s lawyer Mark Yeo from law firm Kalco Law argued that only a probation report was necessary at this point.

“We recognise that the offences committed by the accused are not trivial. Yet they are not so serious as to necessitate the calling of a reformative training report,” he said.

The judge disagreed and ordered that Ng be remanded for seven days, so that the reformative training report can be prepared.

Adult offenders convicted of using threatening words could face a jail term of up to six months or a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.

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crime court harassment English Premier League Neal Maupay

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