The mother of a fired national table tennis player was charged in court today (Nov 25) for bribery. The incident happened on Oct 17, when her new citizen son Li Hu was under investigation for insubordination and multiple misconduct including bringing women to his hostel. Su Feng Xian, 54, met up with the technical director of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and offered him €2,000 (S$3024) to help her son get off the hook.
Su Feng Xian is currently out on a S$15,000 bail and her case will be heard again.
28-year-old Li Hu arrived in Singapore in 2010 from Hu Bei China, and he was granted Singapore citizenship in a year under the government’s foreign sports talent scheme. The sports sponsorship is Singapore government’s solution to an Olympic medal drought under the directive of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The former world junior champion helped Singapore secured a bronze medal in the men’s doubles during the 2014’s Asian Games.
The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) is facing a myriad of training problems after a round of firing including former bronze winner Feng Tian Wei. It is understood that some table tennis players from China are unhappy with the government association and as a response the STTA “purged” those who voiced dissent. The decision was on STTA’s mind for a while but the trigger point came when none of the China-bought mercenary players win a single medal in the recent 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The Foreign Sports Talent (FST) scheme recently also come under fire because Singaporean Joseph Schooling secured a gold medal without any government support but yet millions were instead splurged on the foreign players every year. Public calling for the FST scheme to be scrapped as the act of buying foreign players and offering them citizenship to secure sports medals is perceived as shameful. Many Singaporeans expressed disdain and said that they were not proud when the foreign players won the medals. The sentiment is however not reflected by dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his ruling party members.