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Taiwan prosecutors list 8 baseball players as defendants in game-fixing case

Taiwan prosecutors list 8 baseball players as defendants in game-fixing case

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Prosecutors on Wednesday listed eight baseball players as defendants in a game-fixing scandal which could deal a fatal blow to professional baseball in Taiwan.
The group included two star players, former United States Major League Baseball pitcher Tsao Chin-hui, now with the Brother Elephants, and Chang Chih-chia, a member of the La New Bears who once played with the Seibu Lions in Japan. Both were released after hours of questioning.
The prosecutors first interviewed a total of nine players in Taipei and later at the Banciao District Prosecutors Office in Taipei County.
The others listed as defendants were Tsao’s fellow Elephants Lee Hau-jen, Liu Yu-chan, Wang Ching-li, Wu Bau-hsien, and Wang Chun-tai, and Hsieh Chia-hsien of the Sinon Bulls.
Tsai Tsung-you of the Bears was the only of the players questioned Wednesday who was not listed as a defendant but as a witness, reports said.
Prosecutors reportedly said the participants had willingly participated in the scam, and no threats were involved, in contrast with previous scandals when organized crime figures intimidated players into throwing games.
Wading his way through a throng of reporters in Banciao, Chang said he had never done anything wrong. Tsao also defended his innocence.
Prosecutors asked a court to approve the detention of Wang Ching-li and Wu Bau-hsien, indicating their involvement might be more serious, media reported.
Tsao reportedly admitted Tuesday he had shared four meals with the alleged ring leader of the game fixers, Tsai Cheng-yi. Tsai and former La New Bears pitcher Huang Chun-chung are among six detained as suspects. Despite the meals, Tsao denied he had accepted any money in return for losing games.
Tsao’s attorney Chu Kuang-jen told reporters that Tsao still denied he was involved and had offered to undergo a lie detector test.
Investigators launched a series of nationwide raids early Monday morning, just hours after the Uni-President Lions defeated the Brother Elephants 5-2 in the finals of the best-of-seven Taiwan professional series.
They announced the detention of six suspects Tuesday morning. One of the six, Chuang Hung-liang, had decided to cooperate with the investigators and tell the truth about the whole scheme, media reports said.
Tsao was listed as one of the players to face questioning Wednesday, but he at first strongly denied any connection to the scandal, expressing anger at being named just months after returning to Taiwan baseball.
Observers fear that the disbanding of another team would sink professional baseball in Taiwan completely, since at present only four teams compete, the Lions, the Elephants, the Sinon Bulls and the La New Bears.
The latest game-fixing scandal is the fifth in the league’s 20-year history.
Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng said Wednesday that baseball fans should not lose heart because the judiciary would do its utmost to give fans a clean sporting environment.


Updated : 2021-03-07 17:06 GMT+08:00