November 23 – Thai police are preparing for a second round of arrests after 12 people were taken into custody and charged with match-fixing earlier this week.
Pol Maj-Gen Itthipol Atchariyapradit, the inquiry commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau in Bangkok, said that they were currently gathering evidence and that the next arrests could include some foreign nationals.
He said arrests warrants would be sought for any individual believed to be connected with the match-fixing.
The 12 individuals suspected of match-fixing so far include five players and two match officials. They had been working on behalf of an organised crime gang that now appears to be internationally active.
The matches under investigation include one in July and three matches in September but that number looks likely to expand. The criminal probe was initiated by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and Royal Thai Police using data from fraud detection specialists Sportradar after an unusual number of goals were scored at the end of matches.
Police said that four players from the Navy club and one from Nakhon Ratchasima were paid up to 200,000 Thai baht ($6,100) to manipulate results. The 12 people arrested have been released on bail.
Under Thai law the match and club officials could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of match-fixing. Players could face up to five years in jail and fines.
Somyot Poompanmuang, president of FAT, said: “Match-fixing has been committed for a long time…It’s time we eradicate this wrongdoing which is like a bad diseased of our body that needs to be cured.”
AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa sent a promise of AFC support to FAT, saying: “FA Thailand, with its recent actions, has sent a strong signal to all criminal elements that their actions will be contested with full force.
“I congratulate FA Thailand for taking a firm stand against the menace of match-fixing and am more confident than ever before, that our dedicated and joint efforts together with the law enforcement agencies can bring this scourge to an end.”
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