Korean pitchers banned for overseas gambling

Fri Jan 8, 2016 1:43am EST
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SEOUL (Reuters) - The Korean Baseball Organisation (KBO) handed out half-season suspensions to pitchers Lim Chang-yong and Oh Seung-hwan on Friday following allegations they were involved in illegal gambling in Macau.

Prosecutors in December sought a summary order against the two pitchers and asked a local court to impose 7 million won ($5,848) each in fines.

Free agents Oh and Lim are suspected of gambling tens of thousands of dollars in Macau in November 2014. South Korea's gambling laws ban nationals from betting in casinos abroad.

The KBO said in a statement on its website on Friday that after deliberating on the case it had decided to suspend the players for half of their team's games should they play in Korea next season, which would be 72 games in 2016.

Oh, who won an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games and had a record 277 saves in nine seasons with Korea's Samsung Lions, played the last two seasons in Japan.

He is now looking to make the switch to Major League Baseball in the United States.

Veteran reliever Lim, second only to Oh on the all-time saves list, and two of his team mates were left off the Lions roster ahead of the Korean Series in October as the gambling scandal broke.

The Lions lost the championship series to Doosan in five games. The 39-year-old Lim, who had a brief stint with the Chicago Cubs, was later released by the Lions.

The KBO also handed out a fine of 10 million won to the Lions for failing to properly manage their players.

(Reporting by Jee Heun Kahng; Writing by Peter Rutherford; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

South Korea's pitcher Lim Chang-yong throws the ball against Taiwan in the ninth inning of their baseball game final at Munhak Baseball Stadium during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 28, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato