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Prosecutors gather testimony on additional fixing in baseball

All Headlines 16:17 February 27, 2012

DAEGU, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors in Daegu said Monday they have gathered testimony on additional match fixing in baseball, as they prepare to widen their investigation into the nation's most popular professional sport.

Prosecutors in this southeastern metropolitan city, 300 kilometers from Seoul, said a former college ball player surnamed Kim, arrested last Saturday over his alleged ties to fixing, testified that more games had been fixed than what prosecutors first suspected. It was not immediately clear how many additional games were subject to fixing attempts.

Until now, prosecutors have said based on earlier testimonies, brokers attempted to fix five to six KBO games and were only successful three or four times.

Kim was arrested for allegedly introducing two active players in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the nation's top baseball league, to a gambling broker to assist in match fixing schemes.

According to sources, Kim admitted to teaming up with a broker named Kang, who is also under arrest, to plot fixing matches, after hearing rumors it would be relatively easy to affect certain plays within baseball games.

Illegal sports betting sites offer proposition bets, or "prop bets," which offer odds on minute plays such as first-inning walks by a starting pitcher and allow brokers to engage in "spot fixing," an activity where specific plays are fixed. Spot fixing is considered more difficult to detect than fixing the outcome of the entire match.

Park Eun-seok, a senior prosecutor in Daegu, told reporters Monday the investigation may soon expand.

"Our basic policy is that, with baseball, we will stay focused on the allegations we have now," Park said. "But if we obtain concrete evidence that points to additional fixing, we can broaden our investigation."

Kim, the ex-college player, also reportedly testified that KBO players received about 12 million won (US$10,620) in total for their roles in the fixing. Park said that claim would need to be confirmed through a separate investigation of suspected players.

Allegations of match fixing in volleyball's V-League surfaced earlier this month, with several current and retired players coming under investigation. The focus recently shifted to baseball, where the KBO has set single-season attendance records in each of the past three seasons.

The government recently announced it will take a "zero-tolerance" approach against match fixing and toughened penalties for offending players, coaches and teams.
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