South Korean baseball pitcher An Ji-man is off the hook in the illegal gambling scandal that recently rocked the Korean Baseball Organization. For now, that is.
Prosecutors cleared the 33-year-old former Samsung Lions pitcher of his illegal online gambling charges after they failed to find enough evidence to back the allegations, Yonhap News report. Samsung Lions player Yun Sung-hwan was also cleared of the same charges.
The Seoul District Prosecutor’s Office had to suspend the illegal online gambling probe while authorities look for the “gambling site operators who can possibly give reference on the case.” Prosecutors have reportedly placed these people on the wanted list.
An and Yun were among a number of baseball players who were suspected of gambling in Macau in 2014. Police previously said two individuals testified to witnessing An spending tens of thousands of dollars gambling in casino VIP rooms in the special administrative region.
Samsung Lions have already terminated their contract with An following the police investigation, but Yun is still playing for the South Korean baseball team.
An is also facing a separate investigation for allegedly financing a friend’s illegal online gambling site. An’s computer and smartphone seized by Seoul police revealed visits to a Korea-based online gambling site, while his bank records detailed money was sent to the same gambling site.
An has rejected the allegations, saying that the money he lent his friend was for the purposes of opening a restaurant.
Online gambling is strictly forbidden in South Korea, leading most South Korean-facing operators to base their operations in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. South Korean law also frowns on its citizens gambling in foreign countries where the practice is legal although it tends to look the other way if the gambling is determined to be “just for momentary pleasure” rather than “habitual.”