Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK


UK

Football guard 'bribed for sabotage'

An inquiry began after men were arrested at the Valley

A former security guard at Charlton Athletic Football Club has told a court he was offered £20,000 to help disrupt a Premiership match for a Far Eastern betting syndicate.

Roger Firth, 49, was giving evidence in the trial of Wai Yuen Liu, of Kensington, west London, who is accused of being part of the betting scam.


The BBC's George Eykyn: "The sabotage plot was related to illegal gambling syndicates in the far east"
The syndicate was accused of masterminding two abandoned matches in 1997 by putting the floodlights out. They were planning to target a third when police broke up the plot, Middlesex Crown Court was told.

Firth and Malaysians Eng Hwa Lim, 35, and Chee Kew Ong, 49, have admitted conspiring to cause a public nuisance at a game between Charlton and Liverpool on 13 February, and are awaiting sentence.

Wai Yuen Liu, 38, denies the charge and his trial continues.

A Christmas 'bonus'

The court heard that Ong and Lim, an electronics engineer, questione staff at Charlton's ground in December 1998 about security arrangements, as they were involved in a new stadium in the Far East.

They were referred to Firth and he met them later for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in west London where the floodlighting issue was first raised.

After a further meeting with the pair Firth said he was offered £20,000 to give them access to the floodlights, to fit a remote-control device to disable the lighting system.


BBC's Stephen Cape: "Firth told the jury he was offered the money to let two men tamper with the floodlights"
But police were alerted to the alleged plot after loose talk from Firth, who offered a second guard £5000 to stay on the switchboard at the club while the floodlights were being tampered with.

Mr Liu and the two Malaysians were arrested outside the ground three days before the match.

Firth said the night of his arrest was the first time he had seen Mr Liu.

'Harm to football's integrity'

Mark Dennis, prosecuting, said the alleged plot showed a "complete disregard to the damage that could be caused to the reputation and integrity of the professional game in this country".

If a match was abandoned before full time, bets still stood and depended on the score at the time.

Mr Dennis said that although the crime was perpetrated in the UK, the profits would have been raked in elsewhere.

A syndicate could make a "considerable gain" if the match was abandoned when the score was favourable.

The first match alleged to have been disrupted by the syndicate was at Upton Park in November 1997 where West Ham were playing at home to Crystal Palace.

The lights went out 20 minutes into the second half just after West Ham had equalised.

The second was a month later at Selhurst Park where Wimbledon were playing at home to Arsenal. Again the lights went out shortly after half time when the scores were level.

'Money-making conspiracy'

Mr Liu was born in Hong Kong, but had a British passport and had lived in London for a number of years, the court heard. He was a heavy gambler and had joined the Golden Horseshoe Casino in west London in 1994.

Over a two-year period he made about 560 visits there and lost about £120,000. The court heard he was heavily in debt to credit card companies and banking institutions.

Mr Dennis said: "It may help to explain why he was happy to be part of this money-making conspiracy."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

17 Aug 99†|†UK
Three admit football light sabotage

31 Mar 99†|†Asia-Pacific
Singapore bets on match fixing curb

12 Feb 99†|†Asia-Pacific
Asian gamblers target British football





In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online