The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) confirms that six people, including five professional football players, have been arrested for alleged match fixing.
Local premier league club Hong Kong Pegasus said it has suspended four players and an assistant coach believed to be involved in the case until after the ICAC completes its investigations, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Sources said among those arrested were team captain Kwok Kin-pong, players Chan Pak-hang and Lee Ka-ho, team coach and player Lee Wai-lim, who won the Hong Kong Top Footballer award in 2008-2009, and a former player.
The ICAC said it launched an operation codenamed “Flower Field” on Tuesday after receiving a corruption complaint, alleging match-fixing in football matches at the Hong Kong Reserve Division League, which was organized by the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) in the 2015-2016 football season.
The bribes involved reportedly amounted to more than HK$90,000.
The anti-graft body said it arrested an assistant coach cum player, a former player and three serving players of the football club as well as a suspected bookmaker.
Several other individuals, including players and staff members of the football club, were interviewed in relation to the case, the ICAC said.
Investigators are expected to meet with Hong Kong Pegasus chairman Canny Leung, who revealed on her Facebook account that she was cutting short her trip to London to return to Hong Kong.
The premier league club also issued a statement saying that it will adopt zero tolerance towards illegal actions by players or coaches.
On Thursday morning the top flight outfit held a regular training session at the Tsing Yi Northeast Park, but only 15 players showed up.
Team manager Man Pei-tak admitted that team training was affected because several players were absent for personal reasons.
Man said they could only wait for further announcements.
In a statement, the HKFA said it was disappointing to note that further allegations of misconduct have come to light, adding that it will continue to cooperate fully with the ICAC in their investigations.
All those arrested have been released on bail, the report said.
Peter Leung Shou-chi, manager of defending premier league champions Eastern Long Lions, said he has seen people acting suspiciously during reserve league games.
“There were virtually zero spectators for such games, therefore it struck me when I saw someone present at the stands for a particular game one time and the guy was busily taking notes and watching with a pair of binoculars,” said Leung.
Leung said he suspected the note-taker was providing information to offshore betting syndicates.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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