Ace pitcher cops to some charges of match-fixing

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Ace pitcher cops to some charges of match-fixing

Prosecutors said yesterday that it booked LG Twins’ ace pitcher without detention as he admitted some of his charges in an unprecedented match-fixing scandal in Korea’s professional baseball.

Park Hyun-jun, a right-hander for the LG Twins in the Korea Baseball Organization, was grilled by prosecutors in Daegu, a metropolitan city some 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Seoul, for eight hours on Friday. The 26-year-old player is under suspicion of accepting bribes in return for trying to fix baseball games at least twice last year.

Park had claimed innocence since his name first surfaced in the fast-spreading baseball fixing rumors last month, but he admitted to some of the charges against him during the investigation, the prosecution said.

His teammate Kim Seong-hyun, 23, also a pitcher, was arrested on Thursday after admitting to prosecutors that he was involved in a match-fixing scheme twice during the 2011 regular season when he played for the Seoul Heroes.

The prosecution is investigating two brokers to uncover whether there are more professional baseball players involved in match-fixing, sources told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday. A rumor is circulating within the baseball community that four or five professional baseball players from at least three KBO teams were involved in the scandal.

Moon Seong-hyun, a pitcher for Seoul Heroes, was questioned by prosecutors on Wednesday as a person of interest. Last month he confessed to his team officials that he was approached to be part of a match-fixing scheme.

By Hong Gweon-sam, Yonhap [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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