2 baseball players get suspended jail term
By Yi Whan-woo
The Daegu District Court sentenced two professional baseball players to six months in prison suspended for two years, Wednesday, for match-fixing in the local league.
The two players are LG Twins pitchers, Kim Seong-hyun and Park Hyun-joon. In addition to the sentence, the court ordered them to pay 7 million won ($6,190) each in fines and do 120 hours of community service.
“The ruling was made due to the fact that both Kim and Park admitted their crime and regret their wrongdoing,” a judge said.
The two initially denied rigging game results in return for illegal gains in the past season at the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) league. But they later made a confession following the prosecution questioning in February.
The players said they had been approached by a broker surnamed Kim, who received a two-year jail term.
He also lured professional volleyball players, either retired or active. Among those players, a retired athlete surnamed Yeom was sentenced to two years behind bars year while six others were given two-year suspended terms.
“It was inevitable to give a prison sentence to Yeom and the broker as they were the key figures in this match-fixing scandal involving professional athletes,” judge said.
The prosecution quoted the broker as saying in February that the athletes in baseball and volleyball were linked to match-fixing, while being questioned over his involvement in last year’s game-rigging in the professional football league.
The scandal in football in 2011 resulted in dozens of players being banned for life from the K-League and other local leagues.
The suspended players included Lee Gyeong-hwan, 24, a former Daejeon Citizen player who was found dead on Monday in a suspected suicide. His body was found outside an apartment building in Incheon, west of Seoul.
Lee’s acquaintances said he lived with his widowed mother and has been under financial stress since the lifetime ban was imposed on him.