SINGAPORE – A Singaporean teenager who threatened to kill English Premier League (EPL) football player Neal Maupay and the sportman’s family members was sentenced on Wednesday (July 7) to nine months probation.
The 23-year-old forward with Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and his family were in Britain when Derek Ng De Ren, now 19, made the threats in June and July last year.
Ng had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment. Two other similar charges were considered during sentencing.
His mother was bonded for $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin had told the court that as a result of Ng’s messages, the footballer felt distressed, believing the teenager’s threats to be legitimate and credible.
The DPP added: “The victim and his family did not leave their home as far as possible, for fear of being attacked.”
On June 20 last year, Mr Maupay scored the winning goal against Arsenal Football Club in a match that saw Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno carried off the pitch injured after a tussle with Mr Maupay.
DPP Bin told District Judge May Mesenas: “The accused watched the match… in his grandmother’s home in Singapore.
“The accused, an Arsenal supporter, was angered by the victim’s goal and Arsenal FC’s (Football Club) loss. He also blamed the victim for the Arsenal goalkeeper’s injury.”
Using an anonymous account, Ng sent the threatening messages via social media platform Instagram.
In one message four days later, he said: “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.”
He sent Mr Maupay another message the following day, abusing him with vulgar language.
In another message on June 26 last year, Ng said: “Your family will be attacked later in the day, just watch.”
The court heard that Mr Maupay did not respond to the messages and instead, reported the incident to EPL’s online abuse reporting system.
Instagram then blocked Ng’s anonymous account.
Undeterred, Ng created a new anonymous Instagram account on July 1 last year and sent Mr Maupay another message, saying: “You think by reporting my account you’re safe? I will kill you and your family.”
An EPL representative in Singapore alerted the police here on Aug 11 last year following an investigation.
For each count of harassment, an offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $5,000.