By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof
NOTORIOUS Singaporean football match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal may have finally landed himself in the net.
A man carrying what is believed to be a fake Singapore passport bearing the name of Rajamorgan Chelliah, was arrested in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday morning.
The suspect was arrested by police when he was trying to fly out of the country from its international airport, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
Checks with sources revealed that Wilson Raj, 45, who is on the run from the law in Singapore, is known to travel under that same name.
It is understood that Finnish police believe the arrested man is Wilson Raj after checking previous photographs of him.
Sources close to Wilson Raj also believe that the arrested man is indeed the bookie who has fixed matches in several countries.
That's because a man who was travelling with Wilson Raj, but was not arrested, contacted his friends in Singapore on Thursday evening.
The man, believed to be a Malaysian in his 20s, had tipped them off about his arrest.
Wilson Raj's family members and some friends may be planning to travel to Helsinki or at least find out how they can help him, said a source close to the family.
The source, who's in his 40s, told The New Paper: "We heard this from one of his family members who is finding out more about how the law works in Finland.
"It's hard to believe this but I'm not surprised that it could really be him."
As to what Wilson Raj was doing in Finland, another source in Singapore said: "He's there definitely not for a holiday. With Wilson, it's all about work."
When The New Paper contacted a Finnish source at about 7pm yesterday, she said that the Finnish authorities, in particular the district court in Lapland (situated in Rovaniemi, about two hours' flight from Helsinki), were still deciding whether to detain the man with the alleged fake passport.
Wilson Raj was in Rovaniemi earlier before travelling to Helsinki to board another flight. At 10.30pm, the source said that a police officer from the Lapland police department confirmed that they would be detaining him for the next two weeks for investigations.
"What the authorities here need to establish is his real identity - whether this man is really Rajamorgan Chelliah or Wilson Raj Perumal," the Finnish source told The New Paper over the phone. Some insiders in Singapore said Wilson Raj had been in Rovaniemi to "suss out" some players at the football clubs there.
Whether or not he succeeded in influencing any football matches is unclear.
Wilson Raj is no stranger to a series of match-fixing deals. His infamous "exploit" was to fix the Bahrain vs Togo match. Officials from Bahrain Football club had pointed the finger at Wilson Raj for arranging the match with a fake Togo team last September.
He also left a trail in Malaysia. The football association there said that it had also been keeping Wilson Raj on its radar.
The series of alleged match-fixing by Wilson Raj is just the latest of his criminal activities. Since 1983, he has been jailed and fined for offences like housebreaking, theft, forgery, cheating and match-fixing.
And he had been a fugitive since July 13 last year after failing to attend the appeal hearing against his sentence of five years' corrective training for injuring an auxiliary police officer.
Those close to Wilson Raj say he's football-crazy and loves to gamble.
He's also a smooth operator, with one source saying: "He can sell ice to an Eskimo."
This article was first published in The New Paper.