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Man admits sending death threats to footballer via Instagram

3 min read

A nineteen-year old man in Singapore has admitted sending death threats to Brighton and Hove Albion footballer Neal Maupay over Instagram.

Derek Ng De Ren pleaded guilty to two charges of using threatening words with intent to cause distress after his messages to Mr Maupay were picked up by the Premier League’s online abuse detection system designed to help players, managers and their families to report abuse on social media.

Ng, who is serving in Singapore’s national service, threatened to kill Mr Maupay and his family after the forward scored the winning goal against Arsenal last June.

He will face a fine of up to £10,000 or a two-year prison sentence when he is sentenced on 7 July.

Mr Maupay worked with his club, the League and local authorities in Singapore to identify and locate Ng and secure his conviction.

“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,” Mr Maupay said.

Mr Maupay said receiving ‘vile and toxic’ abuse was a daily occurrence (Photo: AFP/Getty)

“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 some way to showing those online trolls that it is totally unacceptable and that the authorities are prepared to take the necessary action.”

Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, said the outcome of the case reflected the severity of Ng’s actions, adding that the League hoped it would “send a strong message of deterrence by demonstrating there are serious real-life consequences for those who engage in online abuse.”

 “The online abuse Neal received was appalling and nobody should have to deal with such threatening messages,” he added.

“We are committed to supporting players, managers and their families and will continue to work with relevant authorities to fight online hate. As this case shows, we 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.”

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Why racists are still hiding in plain sight on social media

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies have been criticised for their failure to curb racism and abuse levelled at footballers and high-profile users for years.

English football clubs and organisations boycotted social media from 30 April to 3 May to protest racism and abuse targeting players and officials, urging social media platforms to do more to eradicate hate online.

Instagram announced it would start banning the accounts of people who send racist abuse in direct messages, following a high-profile spate of racist abuse reported by Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, Chelsea right-back and fellow England International Reece James and Rashford’s Man United teammates Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial. 

Thierry Henry announced he was disabling his social media accounts in March over the companies’ failure to address racist abuse, adding he would abstain from using the platforms “until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright”.

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