Fri, Oct 30, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Baseball league will not fold over scandal: council

FREE A court ruled against detaining two players in a growing game-fixing scandal after prosecutors said they could collude with witnesses on their testimony

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Sports Affairs Council (SAC) official said yesterday that the nation’s professional baseball league would not fold over the latest match-fixing scandal.

“Professional baseball is the engine of baseball in Taiwan, so we will not let the professional baseball league fold,” SAC Deputy Director Tzeng Tsan-pao (曾參寶) said at the legislature.

Lee Wen-pin (李文彬), secretary-general of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), said he was not aware of any plans to shut down the CPBL.

“We will continue to prepare for next year’s games. As for whether some teams might disappear because of the scandal, I cannot speak for them,” he told reporters.

The CPBL was founded in 1989 and has four teams.

In recent years, it has been mired in repeated match-fixing scandals.

The latest of these erupted on Monday, a day after the Brother Elephants lost 5-2 to the Uni-President Lions in the CPBL championship.

Prosecutors have questioned more than a dozen players from three teams in the scandal.

On Wednesday, prosecutors listed Brother Elephants players Wu Pao-hsien (吳保賢), Wang Jing-li (王勁力), Wang Chun-tai (汪竣泰), Liu Yu-chan (柳裕展), Li Hao-ren (李濠任) and Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝), along with La New Bears pitcher Chang Chih-chia (張誌家) and Hsieh Chia-hsien (謝佳賢) of the Sinon Bulls, as defendants in a game-fixing case under investigation by Banciao District prosecutors.

The Banciao District Court yesterday ruled against detaining Wu and Wang Jing-li after prosecutors requested their detention.

Cheng Hsin-hung (鄭鑫宏), a spokesperson for the district prosecutors’ office, said prosecutors had sought to detain Wu and Wang because they might otherwise collude with witnesses.

However, prosecutors respect the district court’s decision, Cheng said.

Prosecutors said they did not request to detain the other six baseball players because the defendants had cooperated with investigators and agreed to return for questioning whenever necessary — not because prosecutors believed the six were not involved in game-fixing.

Prosecutors said they had telephone records proving that Tsao, Chang and the others were in contact with Tsai Cheng-yi (蔡政宜), the alleged head of a criminal gang nicknamed the “Windshield Wipers,” and his middlemen.

The players allegedly met Tsai or a middleman before throwing a game.

The players have denied fixing games, although Tsao admitted to meeting the Windshield Wipers. Some reports claimed Tsao and other players accepted bribes in the form of drinks with female escorts.

Although the district court released Wu and Wang without bail, the eight defendants are prohibited from leaving the country to ensure they do not flee the investigation and legal proceedings.

Prosecutors yesterday questioned four more baseball players, including Elephants catcher Kuo Yi-feng (郭一峰).

They are planning to question more people as they continue their probe into the case.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DPA

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