Thursday, November 09, 2006

What? Baseball corruption again?

With all the hu-ha over President Chen, it is shocking to find that other things are happening in Taiwan.

I'm not making that up.

Back in the real Taiwan, baseball is corrupt. Again. I know you are shocked to find out that gangsters are trying to rig Taiwanese baseball games...and a policeman left his government-issued laptop with his mistress, who just happens to be connected to the kidnapping of a baseball coach....

Kao yesterday said that Fu had left the laptop there for his mistress to use.

He added that although Kuang would be unable to access confidential data in the laptop without the proper security code, the device had been used to gamble online on professional baseball games.

Kao said that Kuang is a close friend of Tien Chen-yu (田震宇), a member of the Bamboo Union (竹聯幫), the nation's most important organized crime group.

Investigators had said they were looking for Tien and two men who allegedly kidnapped and threatened the coach of the La New Bears, Lin Kuang-hung (林光宏), telling him to throw the play-offs on Oct. 25.

The La New Bears, however, beat the President Lions 7-3 in Game 4 of the 2006 Taiwan Series, winning their first ever league title.

Police said Kuang told them that Lin had a close relationship with Tien, and that he was not a victim in the case.

Kao said investigators are still looking into Lin's role in the scandal.

Lin reported to the CIB that three men had kidnapped him at gunpoint on Oct. 20, and offered him NT$200,000 (US$6,051) to rig the game because they had collected a large amount of money from gamblers bidding on the game.

Stories like this just keep cropping up. Last year David at Jujuflop commented on one. And this gem from Asiaweek in 1997:

Gamblers don't like to lose. Especially those with links to the underworld. Last August, some of Taiwan's professional baseball players had that fact knocked into their heads -- literally. After the Brother Elephants, the most popular team in the eight-year-old Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), were humbled by the lowly Sinon Bulls, five of its members were kidnapped and roughed up. One was pistol-whipped. The toughs were hired by gamblers who had lost big on the game. Among the victims: the island's most famous pitcher, Chen "Flying Knife" Yi-hsin.

The episode sent shock waves through Taiwan where baseball reigns as the national sport. While betting on game scores -- or even on individual plays -- has long been common, if illegal, the incident proved what many had suspected for years: criminal involvement in the game.

The bad news was just beginning. Fans have watched in dismay as an ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Justice uncovers a gambling operation that insiders say could result in game-fixing charges against as many as half of the players in the league. Some of Taiwan's biggest baseball heroes have already admitted to throwing games for money, including star pitchers Kuo Chin-hsing and Kuo Chien-cheng. All told, eight players have confessed so far, with some reportedly receiving as much as $145,000 per game.

As they say on Battlestar: it has all happened before....

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