The South Korean pitcher who dreamt of becoming big in the baseball world has come clean—albeit partially—on the charges of illegal overseas gambling filed against him.
Oh Seung-Hwan, a relief pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers, was called to the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office early Wednesday morning to investigate whether he “gambled some hundreds of millions of won in Macau in November 2014,” Yonhap News reported.
During the interrogation, which lasted for five hours, Oh reportedly admitted that he borrowed chips worth “some hundreds of millions of won,” but said the number of times he gambled and the amount he wagered were “insignificant.”
Prosecutors, however, were able to secure Oh’s entry log to the casino and records of his money transaction with the gambling house owner, who was only identified as Lee, according to the report.
Oh was dragged into the whole illegal gambling issue after prosecutors uncovered a list of Koreans who frequently go to gambling houses in Macau and its Southeast Asian neighbors, including Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
South Korea bans locals from gambling abroad, while locally, residents can only enter one of the country’s 17 casinos. Lee, who was an alleged former gang member, claimed Oh wagered over 100 million won in the exclusive junket room that he used to operate in Macau.
The controversy is poised to shatter Oh’s dream of playing in the Major Baseball League. According to reports, Oh, a free agent, has a potential contract with the Nippon Professional Baseball or an MLB team on the horizon.
Oh joined the ranks of Korean baseball players ensnared in the illegal gambling issue.
Just recently, Samsung Lions dropped one of its players involved in an illegal gambling investigation.
The Korea Times reported that Lim Chang-yong, who is being investigated for illegal overseas gambling, has been taken off the Lions’ protected list.
Seoul prosecutors summoned the 39-year-old player in late November, and during the interrogation that lasted for 13 hours, the athlete “admitted to gambling in Macau,” according to the report.
Lim and two other Lions’ players were taken off the team’s roster for the Korean Series—the Korea Baseball Organization’s championship final—in light of the gambling investigation. The Lions ended its four-year winning streak when it lost to the Doosan Bears in five games, Korea Times reported.
Lim had a brief stint with the Chicago Cubs, but returned to the Lions, leading the team with 33 saves in 2015. The right-hander also spent five seasons with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.