Korean baseball pitchers cleared of Internet gambling charges, probe suspended

Janice Hong, Aug. 9, 2016, 11:13 a.m.

Prosecutors on Tuesday cleared South Korean baseball pitchers An Ji Man and Yun Sung Hwan of illegal Internet gambling charges, but said further investigation is needed in regards to their overseas gambling allegations.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, however, temporarily suspended the investigation as the whereabouts of gambling site operators who can possibly give reference on the case have not been clear. Prosecutors have put them on the wanted list.

The two players, affiliated with the Samsung Lions in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), are suspected of gambling in Macau in 2014. Police in charge of the preliminary investigation said An is also suspected of illegally online gambling, although investigators said they could not find enough evidence to back the allegations.

Following the police probe result, the Lions terminated their contract with An last month. Yun is still playing for the Lions. Meanwhile, An is also facing a separate investigation over suspicions of helping a friend open an illegal gambling website.

The two players have been flatly denying any allegations raised against them, according to prosecutors. Once one of the KBO's most reliable setup men, An has struggled this year, going 2-5 with a 5.79 ERA -- his worst since 2009 -- in 31 appearances.

Two other South Korean pitchers, Lim Chang Yong and Oh Seung Hwan, were indicted and fined for similar charges in January. Lim, who pitched for the Lions over the past two years, was released by the club in light of the court decision, and has since joined another KBO club, the Kia Tigers. Oh, who pitched for the Lions from 2005 to 2013 and the Hanshin Tigers in Japan from 2014 to 2015, is now pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals in Major League Baseball.

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