Amid an ongoing scandal involving the Brothers Baseball Club, media reports yesterday alleged that several team members made contact with former players who have been charged with game fixing.
The accused players denied the allegations, saying they did not engage in any wrongdoing.
The Chinese-language weekly Next Magazine, Sanlih E-Television and other media outlets reported that the players who were released by the club on Monday were allegedly involved in sex offenses, questionable financial dealings, disciplinary problems and possible collusion in throwing games.
According to sources quoted by Next Magazine, Brothers executives were given information about the players’ activities by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office and the Central Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau.
Club chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒) — scion of CTBC Financial Holding Co’s Koo family which owns the club — and team manager Liu Chih-wei (劉志威) benched the players involved in the allegations, then released seven of the nine after the playoffs.
The allegations concerned the team’s core lineup, led by the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s (CPBL) highest paid player, Lin Chih-sheng (林智勝), who was paid NT$1.2 million (US$39,752) per month, and other high-paid players, including power hitter Chiang Chih-hsien (蔣智賢), paid NT$440,000 a month; relief pitcher Chen Hung-wen (陳鴻文), paid NT$530,000 a month; catcher Cheng Ta-hung (鄭達鴻), paid NT$460,000 a month; outfielder Chang Cheng-wei (張正偉), paid NT$400,000 a month; and infielder Wang Sheng-wei (王勝偉), paid NT$380,000 a month.
Lin allegedly drank alcohol during games, led a clique that tried to oust US manager Cory Snyder, so former manager Wu Fu-lien (吳復連) could return, and remained in contact with people involved in underground betting, Next Magazine quoted sources as saying.
Chiang signed on to play in Australia with the Sydney Blue Sox after the Brothers axed him on Monday. Chiang was alleged to have been part of Lin’s clique, showed insubordination toward his coaches and had extramarital affairs with numerous women, the magazine said.
The club released Chen Hung-wen citing his declining form, saying that his performances did not suit the team’s needs.
The magazine also alleged he was involved in questionable financial dealings.
Cheng Ta-hung allegedly met with former Brothers star pitcher Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝) for a friendly get-together.
Tsao was charged over his involvement in a game-fixing scandal in 2007.
Sanlih E-Television said on a talk show that a source — reputedly an underground betting operator — alleged that Chiang and Chen Hung-wen were paid NT$10 million to lose a game this season.
However, the accusation was not supported by evidence and prosecutors said they did not investigate the claim.
Lin and Chen Hung-wen, accompanied by their agents and lawyers held a news conference yesterday, denied any wrongdoing and asserted they did not engage in match-fixing.
“I have not done anything to betray baseball,” Lin said, adding that they would both continue training.
Lin is set to play in Australia for the Brisbane Bandits in the coming season.
CPBL officials also released a statement dening the allegations that players had colluded with underground operators over match-fixing this season, and said they had not received any information from authorities about the matter.
The CPBL urged Taiwanese media not to report on hearsay and accusations against players.
“These allegations have caused much unnecessary damage to the league, to the four teams and to the players,” CPBL officials said.
“The CPBL has always taken a strong stance and would not attempt a cover-up if players have engaged in any wrongdoing. We have always fully cooperated with the judiciary to investigate reported cases. The league will not try to hide, nor protect players from any wrongdoing,” they said.
“If members of the public have evidence of violations by players, they can provide the information to the league and we will conduct an investigation,” they added.
“Regarding recent media reports of wrongdoing by players, the CPBL has actively communicated with the Brothers Baseball Club, which did not provide any evidence supporting the reports, and the league did not receive evidence regarding these matters from the authorities,” the officials said.
The league had set up direct channels of communication with law enforcement agencies and has been kept in touch regarding developments.
In recent years it has convened meetings for police and judicial investigators to talk to players to enhance the need to abide by the law for all the teams, officials said.
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