Part II: Confessions of the football world’s most prolific match-fixer

This is part II of excerpts from the book Kelong King. Click here for part I.

FIFA has recently come under immense scrutiny for two things — the Qatar bid for World Cup 2022 where allegations are being made that it was 'bought', and the claims of match-fixing that have been making the round since quite some time now — the issue reaching a crescendo after the recent Nigeria vs Scotland friendly which came under the cloud.


Perumal has also gone to jail for his crimes and the book Kelong Kings is a straight up confession from him about how he managed to fix games. Reuters

Recent New York Times reports have also exposed some details of matches being fixed, with Wilson Raj Perumal — one of the most notorious match-fixers out there — being involved via a firm he has set up in Singapore.

Perumal has also gone to jail for his crimes and the book Kelong Kings is a straight up confession from him about how he managed to fix games.

Here's an excerpt from the book where Perumal writes about his time in prison

If remand was bad, prison in Singapore was hell. I was a plump guy when I went in but lost all my weight while inside. The prison halls were packed with screaming inmates, each locked up in a small room with three other guys and without any tap water. Each of us was given a small bucket filled with water that we were allowed to replenish twice a day: during lunch at noon and before dinner at about five o'clock in the afternoon. That single bucket was supposed to last us from five o'clock until our next meal on the following day. Everything had to be done with that one bucket: brush one's teeth, wash and drink.

Once the water from the bucket was finished, one would be left with nothing to drink, but the more seasoned criminals showed us the way. They would flush the toilet then take the water coming down from the top of the toilet bowl before it reached the pool at its bottom and use it to wash their face. Some would even go to the extent of drinking it. In our mind, the water flowed from the top, not from the bottom, so it was clean water. As for me, I never brought myself to drink the water from the bowl; I rinsed my face with it and that's the furthest that I could go. You washed and drank where you s**t, and no doubt there was some bacteria there so, after your turn on the throne, you would have to clean the toilet bowl thoroughly with a green pad and soap that the prison provided. Most of us would try to pass motion in the morning unless we had yard time in the very early hours of day. In that case, we would try to keep it on hold until the doors swung open, because the last person to use the toilet was the one charged with cleaning the bowl with the pad and soap. When it was your responsibility to carry out the ungrateful task, it was hell. The ventilation holes in the cell were so tiny that the smell had no way of leaving the room; the s**t stank like a mother-f**ker; it was like a gas chamber.

Cover of Kelong Kings.

Cover of Kelong Kings.

There was no divisor separating the toilet bowl from the rest of the cell so, in order to have some privacy when you were doing your business, you needed to improvise. The prisoners used rice to make it into glue and secure it to the walls. They would then pull a piece of thread from their blankets and attach it to the rice-glue. Then they made some sort of stopper at the other end of the thread and used it to attach the line to a hole in the opposite wall. Once that was done, you could hang your blanket on the string so that you wouldn't have to shit in front of everybody else. Once or twice a month there would be a spot check, which meant that the guards would barge in and destroy the makeshift curtain because you were not allowed to improvise anything of that sort. We all thought that in a civilized society it would amount to common sense: why the f**k should I shit in front of everybody else?

But people just tend to ignore criminals and no one outside really fought for our rights. The prison system looked perfect from the public's perspective but it certainly was not. During my detention a prisoner was beaten to death. After the incident, no prison officer was allowed to abuse or use violence against inmates anymore unless they were threatened physically, which was something that the prison guards could always claim in their defense if they decided to mistreat you.

The trade groups, or triads, were very present within the prison walls. When you entered the detention hall for the first time, if you belonged to any of the trade groups, you would have to declare your allegiance before the head-man of your triad and you would then sit together with them. I don't believe in gangs; they are just a safety net for their members but I'm not a troublemaker so I didn't bother joining any of them. Either way, we Indians believe in the principle that, no matter what group you belong to, when you go to prison, you sit with the Indians; it's common practice among us. The Malays sit with their gang, the Chinese sit with their gang, the Indians just sit with other Indians; the number one priority is our religion, not our trade group.

In September 1995, a few days before my release, a corrections officer came up to me and said: "Hey, your God is drinking milk in real life".

"What do you mean drinking milk?" I asked. "Who?"

"There is a statue of Ganesh in New Delhi", he explained, "you give him the milk and it disappears".

From India, the news spread to the rest of the world and Hindus everywhere flocked to temples and shrines to offer Ganesh milk. Long cues of worshipers fed milk to Ganesh statues all around the globe and the milk was all disappearing.

"F**k", I thought, "I want to bring some milk to the statue myself and see whether it will drink it or not".

Hinduism is one of the earliest religions. Hindus have many gods: Shiva, Brahma, Rama and so on; Ganesh is the mightiest of them all. Every year, Hindus celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Ganesh. On that recurrence we immerse the statues of the god in the sea or in other bodies of water. Just recently I watched on television as worshipers who were immersing a statue of Ganesh were carried away by the current to their death.

"Ganesh, where the f**k were you?" I asked my god. "You were supposed to perform your duty and save these people".

Still, Ganesh is the number one god among Hindus. We really believe in him and the children totally love him. If you circle 108 times around him, Ganesh can clear all obstacles; eight rounds will suffice if you're running out of time. When I was in Singapore I would sometimes walk to the temple to worship Ganesh; I have faith in him and always keep Ganesh in my heart.

Hinduism is quite complicated but if you read the Mahabharata you'll find that the basic principle is always the same: good will eventually prevail over evil. It is the basis of every religion. All of them try to teach one the right path but sometimes their message is misunderstood. I never could comprehend those Sunday Christians that go to church once a week and confess their sins.

"Oh my Lord", they say, "I'm sorry, please forgive me for I have sinned".

Then, on Monday, the sinning begins all over again. It sounds like a bad joke; these guys are a bunch of hypocrites; I think that even their god will think of them as the biggest and dirtiest b**tards.

"You are not supposed to ogle at another man's woman", the Bible says. "If your mind and your eyes ogle, then you are supposed to gouge them out of your head".

It would be a nightmare for a Hindu. We are the ones that created the Kamasutra and sometimes the representations of our goddesses are very sexy. The human mind is corrupt and nothing can change a person's mindset. You cannot prevent thoughts from arising; before you know it, they're already there. The most you can do is to erase them as quickly as possible. Nor can you prevent your eyes from looking at a woman, even if you're a very religious person. You look at the t**s, f**k, then you go.

I had served my eight months in prison when, by the end of September 1995, I was out into society again. By then Ganesh was sated and had stopped drinking milk.


For further information on the book visit

Readers who are interested in more information on the independent investigative journalism portal, production company and publisher Invisible Dog should visit — co-writers of the book Alessandro Righi and Emanuele Piano are founders of Invisible Dog.

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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2014 11:45:40 IST

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