Man in Singapore found guilty of sending online abuse to Neal Maupay

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A man in Singapore has been found guilty of sending online abuse to Brighton forward Neal Maupay, the Premier League has said.

The league’s online abuse system helped track down the individual after Maupay received threatening and abusive messages via Instagram.

A statement from the Premier League said: “Derek Ng De Ren was convicted of crimes relating to harassment following an investigation and formal criminal complaint filed by the Premier League last August.

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“The Premier League’s legal team undertook a detailed investigation to successfully identify and locate the offender. The league subsequently worked with Neal, the club and local authorities in Singapore to pursue legal action against the defendant, resulting in his prosecution and conviction.

“Mr Ng will be sentenced on 7 July.”

Maupay welcomed the news, saying: “I would like to thank the club and Premier League for the support they showed me in this matter and the professionalism in dealing with it, as well as the police and courts in Singapore.

“The vile and toxic abuse of which I was on the receiving end is a daily occurrence for many professional athletes and public figures, and I hope this goes someway to showing those online trolls that it is totally unacceptable and that the authorities are prepared to take the necessary action.”

The Premier League launched an online abuse reporting system in June 2020 so players, managers and their families can report when they receive discriminatory abuse on social media.

The league’s chief executive Richard Masters said: “As this case shows we will take each report seriously and will do everything we can to identify and investigate offenders and pursue legal action, wherever in the world they may be.

“This outcome recognises the severity of the offence and we hope it will send a strong message of deterrence by demonstrating there are serious real-life consequences for those who engage in online abuse.”

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said: “We welcome the verdict and thank the Premier League and their legal team for their support to both the club and Neal, as well as authorities in Singapore for recognising the severity of the offence.

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“This demonstrates that even where posts are anonymous, we will use all available legal resources to identify perpetrators and we remind everyone that our club and the Premier League have a zero-tolerance policy to anyone who abuses our players, staff or other supporters.”

The Football Association welcomed the development and added in a statement: “This conviction should serve as a reminder to everybody that threatening and abusive messages directed towards participants within the game will not be tolerated and that English football will pursue offenders where necessary.

“We will continue to work with the UK government on the Online Safety Bill to ensure adequate and relevant measures are put in place as quickly as possible, while urging social media companies to act faster and do more to protect their users and prevent the toxic abuse that is shared on their platforms every day.”

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