A man in Singapore has today been found guilty of sending serious online abuse to Albion striker Neal Maupay.
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. He will be sentenced on 7 July.
The threatening and abusive messages received by the player via Instagram were reported to the Premier League through its online abuse reporting system. 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.
Chief executive and deputy chairman 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 the authorities in Singapore for recognising the severity of the offence. 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 message is clear. Abuse, trolling and online hate of any nature won't be tolerated; social media needs to be a safe and secure platform for all to enjoy. On our own channels, users will be banned, reported to the platform owners and reported to the police where they have broken the law. We fully expect other social media platforms to follow the same zero tolerance policy.
"We simply will not stand for this abuse. The social media giants must do more, but until they do, we are prepared to play our part by working with the Premier League and other authorities to identify and root out these individuals."
A man in Singapore has today been found guilty of sending serious online abuse to @OfficialBHAFC player @nealmaupay18— Premier League (@premierleague) June 2, 2021
The threatening and abusive messages received by Neal via Instagram were reported to the #PL through its online abuse reporting system: https://t.co/VYGJHBzyxk pic.twitter.com/KATNgTiDMG
Neal Maupay said: “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.”
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “The online abuse Neal received was appalling and nobody should have to deal with such threatening messages. 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.
“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.”
In June 2020, the Premier League launched a dedicated online abuse reporting system, which enables players, managers and their families to directly report abusive messages received via social media platforms. Each case will be reviewed, reported to the relevant social media company, investigated and legal action taken where appropriate.”