A South Korean court has rejected the appeal lodged by a former baseball pitcher who was convicted for engaging in an illegal online gambling operation.
An Ji-Man, a former pitcher for the Samsung Lions in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), was indicted in September last year over allegations that he gave KRW160 million (US$146,000) to a friend who went on to launch an illegal betting site.
In February, An was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years.
The former pitcher appealed the ruling, but the Daegu District court said An deserved the initial sentence “based on court testimonies and other evidence,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
The illegal gambling investigation has prompted the Lions to remove An off their active roster, while the KBO temporarily suspended the player from joining baseball activities. The organization said “it would take additional steps as necessary, depending on court decisions.”
This is the second brush with illegal gambling recently for An, who was previously caught up in a scandal that saw multiple South Korean baseball stars accused of gambling in Macau casinos. South Korean law frowns on its citizens gambling abroad, although it tends to look the other way if the gambling is determined to be “just for momentary pleasure” rather than “habitual.”
Locally, online gambling is strictly against the rules in South Korea, which has led most South Korean-facing operators to base their operations in countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. It’s unknown where An’s acquaintance based the site at the heart of the pitcher’s latest legal woes.
An was known as one of the most reliable setup men in South Korea, helping the country win the Asian Games gold medals in 2010 and 2014. The cases, however, has prompted the Lions to ask the KBO to allow the team to terminate its contract with An in July. The organization indefinitely suspended the right-hander from joining baseball activities.