A former Taiwanese baseball star has been ordered to compensate his team NT$6 million (US$203,000) for his role in a match-fixing scandal that rocked the nation two years ago, a court said yesterday.
Pitcher Chang Chih-chia, 32, was found to have hurt the image of his team, La New Bears — since renamed the Lamigo Monkeys — and ordered to pay the hefty settlement, the Greater Taichung District Court said.
The Lamigo team was quoted by the Chinese-language Apple Daily as saying that it hopes the record compensation will serve as a warning to other players.
Sources in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), who asked not to be named, confirmed it was the largest compensation amount ever forced on a player.
Chang was once one of the nation’s brightest sports stars when he joined Japan’s Saitama Seibu Lions in 2002 for a record signing fee of ￥120 million (US$1.3 million) for a Taiwanese player.
However, he was convicted for accepting money from bookies to fix games and received a jail term of two years and two months in a much-publicized trial in 2011.
Five other former professional baseball players and a politician were also found guilty in the same case, and sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years on gambling and fraud charges.
Prosecutors in 2009 started investigating claims that some players received cash, luxury cars and paid-for sexual services from bookies to deliberately lose games.
The case dealt a fresh blow to Taiwanese baseball, which has been hit by a string of similar scandals in recent years.
In 2008, the CPBL banned the dmedia T-Rex team over match-fixing allegations that implicated the team’s management and three of its players, among others.