Three charged in Premiership match-rigging investigation

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The Independent Online
THREE men were due to appear in court today after being arrested by detectives investigating allegations that some Premiership football matches were rigged.

The men, Chee Kew Ong, 49, Wai Yuen Liu, 37, and Eng Hwa Lim, 35, all of London, will appear before Horseferry Road magistrates charged with criminal damage and conspiracy following arrests at Charlton Athletic Football Club, Scotland Yard said.

A 48-year-old man, a Charlton Athletic security guard arrested in connection with the same inquiry, was released on police bail.

The men were detained on Wednesday night by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Organised Crime Squad in a joint inquiry with the Football Association investigating suspected damage to electrical equipment at The Valley.

Detectives are investigating football matches affected by floodlight failures. A police spokeswoman said: "We have been given by the FA a list of previous games where the power supply has failed. There have been failures during a number of high-profile Premiership matches."

Gambling syndicates based outside Britain were accused of arranging a floodlight failure at a Premier League match between Wimbledon and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in December 1997 when the score was 0-0. This followed two earlier incidents during the season. At West Ham, the lights went off during the match against Crystal Palace when the score was 2-2. In August 1997, the lights also went out at a match between Derby County and Wimbledon at Derby's Pride Park stadium. The score at the time was 2-1 to Derby.

Charlton Athletic are due to play Liverpool tomorrow.

A single Premiership match can be worth millions of pounds to a betting syndicate, and, in some bets, as soon as the game has passed the half- way mark the result stands.

A spokesman for bookmaker William Hill said the same rules do not apply in Britain. "Domestically, all bets are void if a match is abandoned, you keep your stake money but it's impossible to make any money," he said..

The FA said last night: "We've provided the police with a list of previous floodlight failures. But they assure us it is too early to link such incidents to this case or to allegations of connections between football and gambling."

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