Prosecutors wrap up match-fixing case, 18 indicted

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Prosecutors wrap up match-fixing case, 18 indicted

Prosecutors yesterday indicted 16 volleyball and two baseball players who were found to be involved in match-fixing schemes in return for cash.

Wrapping up the investigation into the country’s worst-ever match-fixing scandal, the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office held a press conference and announced its final statement regarding the issue.

The prosecution said that a total of 23 games - 18 volleyball games in the 2010 and 2011 season and five baseball games in the 2011 regular season were fixed.

“We’ve confirmed that each player received two million won [$1,780] to five million won for each match,” prosecutor Park Eun-seok told media. “There were five to six more suspects in baseball but we’ve decided not to press any charges against them due to lack of evidence.”

The prosecutors also have indicted 13 people including brokers and illegal gamblers who are involved in the match-fixing.

The 22-year-old Seoul LG Twins pitcher Kim Seong-hyun was indicted with detention while his teammate Park Hyun-jun, 27, an ace pitcher for the Twins was indicted without detention.

“There is a chance that Kim could destroy evidence if he is released,” prosecutor Park said.

On Tuesday, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) held a press conference in their office in Dogok-dong, southern Seoul, and announced that they will permanently ban Kim and Park from the league.

“We’ve decided not to take mercy on them in order to stamp out this terrible scheme,” said Koo Bon-neung, the chairman of the KBO.

With the ban, the two are prohibited from playing in any baseball league around the world, including the U.S., Japan, Taiwan and also coaching in schools and even private lessons.

Park and Kim will not be paid their 2012 year salary, 130 million won for Park and 70 million won for Kim, as part of the punishment.

“We felt sorry for these players because some of them have participated in the schemes due to economic difficulties,” prosecutor Park said.

Meanwhile, Park Hyun-jun last week claimed in an interview in the Dong-A Ilbo that he participated in the match-fixing in order to help Kim Seong-hyun.

According to Park, Kim said that he had participated in the scheme to give up bases on balls in the first inning of a game in May in order to pay medical bills for his father but failed to fix the game, and had been threatened by a broker.

Park said that the broker demanded Kim to pay him 5 million won.

Park said that he was angry and met the broker to tell him stop threatening Kim, but the broker told Park that he would reduce Kim’s debt if he joined the scheme.

Park said that the broker wired 5 million won to Park’s bank account after he fixed the games and Park gave the money to Kim in June.

Park said that the games he fixed were against the Seoul Doosan Bears on May 24 and the Daejeon Hanhwa Eagles on June 9.

By Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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