SINGAPORE — A Singaporean junior college student who threatened to kill English Premier League (EPL) footballer Neal Maupay and his family was placed on nine months' supervised probation on Wednesday (7 July).
Derek Ng De Ren, now a full-time national serviceman, will also be required to keep to a time curfew and undergo psychiatric treatment as necessary. He will also have to serve 40 hours of community service, while his mother was bonded for $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.
Ng, 19, is receiving counselling and will continue to do so, his lawyer Mark Yeo told District Judge May Mesenas.
DJ Mesenas told Ng that his one week of remand gave him a "taste" of what it was like to undergo reformative training - a more serious sentencing option given to under-21 offenders, which involves them being going through a strict regime and results in a criminal record.
Ng declined to talk about his experience in remand.
The judge added, "I hope the entire experience over two last months... going to court... has made some impact and I hope it's a lasting impact and you learn from this. There are ways to deal with stressful situations."
Noting that Ng was passionate about football, DJ Mesenas nevertheless said that making threats was not the way to go.
Ng was sent for assessment for probation after he pleaded guilty to two out of four charges of using threatening words with intent to cause distress under the Protection from Harassment Act. His remaining charges were taken into consideration.
His probation report was favourable, noting how Ng had done well in the past and currently in NS.
Upset at victim scoring winner against Arsenal
Ng, an Arsenal fan, had watched his club lose to Brighton and Hove Albion on the night of 20 June last year at his grandmother's home.
Towards the end of the first half, Maupay - a French forward for Brighton - clattered into Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno for the ball inside the Gunners' penalty area. Leno suffered a knee injury and received several minutes of treatment on the pitch before being taken off.
Maupay eventually struck the winning goal five minutes into stoppage time at the end of the match. Ng was angered by the Frenchman's goal, and also blamed the victim for the Leno's injury.
Four days after the match, Ng used an anonymous Instagram account to send three threatening messages to Maupay via Instagram’s direct-messaging platform.
At 10.25pm on 24 June, he wrote, "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 next day, at about 4.50pm, he wrote, "I will f*** you up", and on 26 June at about 1.15am, he wrote, "Your family will be attacked later in the day just watch”.
Maupay did not respond to the above messages, but reported the incident to EPL’s online abuse reporting system. Instagram subsequently blocked Ng's anonymous account.
Undeterred, Ng created a new anonymous Instagram account with a similar account name on 1 July. That night, he wrote to Maupay, “You think by reporting my account you’re safe? I will kill you and your family”.
Maupay felt distressed, believing the threats to be legitimate and credible. He and his family did not leave their home, for fear of being attacked.
On 11 August last year, an EPL representative in Singapore filed an online police report about the abusive messages. Ng's identity was established through tracking.
The punishment for using threatening words to cause distress to another person under the Protection from Harassment Act is a fine of up to $5,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.
Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore
Other Singapore stories: