Taiwan probes into baseball match-fixing

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Taiwan probes into baseball match-fixing

Taiwan probes into baseball match-fixing
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Premier Wu Den-yih on Tuesday ordered an investigation into alleged baseball match-fixing so that the island’s national sport can develop in a healthy way.

“Playing false balls is not good. We must launch a thorough and fair investigation,” he told reporters, using Taiwan’s common term “bad ball” to refer to match-fixing.

Wu’s remarks come one day after prosecutors searched the homes of six players of the Elephant Brothers, one of the four teams of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL). Three of the four teams are allegedly involved in gangster-controlled match-fixing and 11 players were questioned from Monday night.

Six were detained and five were released on bail Tuesday morning, press reports said. Three more players were questioned Tuesday and nine more, including former Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tsao Chin-hui, were scheduled to be questioned Wednesday.

Press reports said the match-fixing began in May, with gangsters paying a player up to 3 million Taiwan dollars ($90,000) for throwing games. Prosecutor Cheng Hsin-hua said prosecutors will respect evidence and follow legal procedures in handling the case.

“We have ruled out that the players were intimidated and forced into throwing games,” he said, meaning if some players were involved, they collaborated with the gangsters willingly.

According to CPBL rules, if a players is found guilty of match-fixing, or even if he has been questioned and released on bail, he will be sacked and barred from playing baseball forever. Baseball is Taiwan’s national sport, a heritage from its 1895-1945 colonization by Japan.

Taiwan’s baseball has been tarnished by match-fixing scandals in recent years. Taiwan teams’ poor performance in international games in recent years, especially its humiliating 7-3 loss to China during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, have cast a shadow on the future of the nation’s baseball. DPA

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