Sentences reduced in 2009 baseball match-fixing (Update)
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-13 07:48 PM
The Taiwan High Court reduced the sentences given out to four Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) players found guilty of match-fixing in a scandal that shook the league and almost brought it to an end in October 2009. Three former members of the Brother Elephants – “Golden Warrior “ Chen Chih-yuan, first baseman Tsai Feng-an and outfielder Yang Po-ren each received a sentence of six months while former LaNew Bears pitcher Chang Chih-chia was sentenced to four months in prison. All of the sentences in the case can be commuted to fines, with the current rate standing at a fine of NT$1000 for each day of a sentence.

The match-fixing case broke as CPBL was observing its 20th anniversary of play with the season’s Final Series in October 2009. Players implicated in the scandal included Tsao Chin-hui, Chang, Chen, Tsai and several other stars. Game six of the Taiwan Series between the Uni-President Lions and the Brother Elephants was a marathon contest that went 17 innings in what was termed in one report as a contest “notable for its passivity and lack of offensive spark.”

The scandal was another in a long string of match-fixing incidents that have plagued the baseball league throughout its history, at times nearly driving it out of existence. The league responded by paring the number of teams from six to four, and both attendance at games and sponsorship of televised games suffered greatly as a result.

An investigation by the Banqiao District Prosecutors Office which concluded in 2010 charged four of the detained players – Chen, Tsai, Chang and Yang – while the remaining players were not prosecuted.

The manager of the Brother Elephants, former Hanshin Tigers pitcher Shin Nakagomi, was also charged in the incident. He eventually plead guilty in exchange for being released and allowed to return to Japan.

In June 2011 a New Taipei City court found a total of 23 defendants guilty including the four baseball players and handed out sentences ranging from 45 days to seven years as well as fines totaling more than NT$50 million.

The High Court ruled that changes in the ROC Penal Code and differing penalties for a series of crimes versus a single incident meant the sentences imposed on the ball players should be reduced.

Deputy Secretary-General Wang Hui-min of the CPBL expressed his regret over the decision of the High Court to reduce the sentences of the convicted players. Wang noted that letting the players off too easily might tempt other players to shave points in the future, warning that the league might not be able to stand any more incidents like the 2009 scandal.

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