South Korean basketball players suspected of match-fixing

September 7, 2015

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) South Korean police are investigating 11 professional basketball players on suspicion of illegal gambling and match fixing in the top-tier Korean Basketball League.

Park Min-soon, head of the cybercrimes division at Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency, said Tuesday it is believed at least one of the players missed shots intentionally during a game that he placed a bet on his team losing.

Park said that the player attempted several shots that didn't touch the rim during a February game when he bet 1 million Korean won ($830) on his team losing.

The 11 basketball players were among 26 people being questioned for illegal gambling activities between 2009 and 2015, the police official said. Most of them allegedly placed bets on basketball, football, and baseball games using illegal gambling sites, he said.

Park confirmed that Kim Sun-Hyung, a Seoul SK Knights player who recently represented South Korea in the William Jones Cup basketball tournament in Taiwan, was among those being investigated for placing bets on illegal websites.

Investigators have yet to release the names of the other players, their teams or the games involved. Police are planning to send the case to prosecutors soon for possible indictment, the official said.

South Korea's major professional sports leagues, including basketball, football and baseball, have been rocked by match-fixing scandals in recent years that have led to imprisonments and lifetime bans of several players and coaches.

Prosecutors are currently investigating allegations that former Busan KT Sonicboom head coach Chun Chang-jin, a five-time KBL coach-of-the-year and a two-time head coach of South Korea's national basketball team, borrowed 300 million won ($249,000) from a loan shark to place bets on five games he coached between February and March. Chun has denied the allegations.

Kang Dong-hee, former head coach of KBL's Wonju Dongbu Promy and widely considered the best point guard South Korea has ever produced, received a 10-month prison term in 2013 for receiving money from illegal gambling brokers in exchange for fixing games between February and March 2011.