Prosecutors to seek arrest warrant for coach Kang over match-fixing charges

By 윤민식
  • Published : Mar 7, 2013 - 18:05
  • Updated : Mar 7, 2013 - 18:50

Prosecutors investigating a match-fixing scandal in professional basketball said Thursday they plan to seek an arrest warrant for an active head coach for his role in rigging games.

Prosecutors in Euijeongbu, north of Seoul, said they have confirmed star coach Kang Dong-hee's involvement in match fixing and can file for a warrant later Thursday.

According to prosecutors, Kang allegedly took cash from two gambling brokers on four occasions during the playoffs in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) in March 2011. Kang has been the head coach of the KBL's Dongbu Promy since the 2009-2010 season.

The Promy lost in the championship final in 2011 to the KCC Egis.

Kang had earlier denied all fixing allegations surrounding him, saying he'd never taken money from any brokers.

On Feb. 28, prosecutors arrested a broker, surnamed Choi, for allegedly offering Kang some 30 million won (US$27,660) to fix games. Then on Wednesday this week, they arrested a second broker, a former professional baseball player surnamed Cho, for the same charges.

Kang, 46, is the first active coach of a South Korea professional sports team to come under match-fixing suspicions. If convicted, Kang faces up to five years in jail or up to 50 million won in fines.

Kang coached his team in a KBL game Wednesday before facing prosecutors' questions. The team's next game is scheduled for Saturday.

Before Wednesday's game, Kang held a press conference, where he denied all allegations and vowed to clear his name during the prosecution.

The KBL and the Promy have said they have opened their own investigations on the charges.

Moments before entering the prosecutors' office Thursday, Kang reiterated to reporters that he never took any money in exchange for fixing a game and that he would duly answer any questions posed by prosecutors.

Kang served as Dongbu's assistant coach from 2005 to 2009, and became the team's head coach before the 2009-2010 season. The team has finished second in the league twice on Kang's watch. Last year, Dongbu established new KBL records for most wins in a season with 44, and most consecutive victories with 16.

He is also regarded as one of South Korea's greatest point guards, dating back to the early 1990s, just before the launch of the professional league. He was the MVP in the inaugural KBL season in 1997.

The KBL is the latest pro sports league in South Korea to be hit with a match-fixing scandal, following leagues for football, baseball and volleyball. (Yonhap News)

<관련 한글 기사>

동부, 강동희 혐의 확인 소식에 '경악'

프로농구 승부조작 혐의로 소환된 강동희(47) 감독에 대해 검찰이 구속영장을 청구할 방침이 알려지자 소속팀 원주 동부는 '전혀 예상치 못했다'며 크게 당혹스러워했다.

성인완 동부 단장은 검찰의 영장 청구 방침이 전해진 7일 오후 연합뉴스와의 전화통화에서 "검찰이 영장을 청구한다는 이야기는 전혀 모르고 있었는데 황망하다"고 말했다.

성 단장은 이어 "강동희 감독이 이미 구속된 최모씨와 개인적 친분은 있지만 승부조작과 관련된 부분은 (무혐의를) 소명할 수 있다고 되풀이해왔기 때문에 믿고 있었는데 상황이 이렇게 될 줄은 몰랐다"고 침통해했다.

구단 차원의 대책에 대해서는 직접 상황을 확인하고 나서 마련해보겠다며 말을 아꼈다.

성 단장은 "일단 언론 보도로만 영장 청구 방침이 전해졌기 때문에 구체적인 상 황을 파악해보겠다"며 "강 감독이 실제로 구속이 될지 등 상황이 어떻게 이어지느냐 에 따라 내부 논의를 거쳐 방침을 정해야 할 것"이라고 말했다.

그는 또 "강 감독이 구속될 경우 일반적 상식으로는 남은 코치진이 팀을 이끌고 남은 경기를 치러야겠지만 이 역시 정확한 상황을 알아본 뒤에 결정하겠다"며 조심스러워했다.

프로농구 승부조작 혐의를 수사중인 의정부지검 형사5부는 강동희 감독을 소환해 강 감독이 2011년 3월 브로커 두명으로부터 수천만원을 받고 4차례 승부조작에 개입한 사실을 확인하고 이날 중 국민체육진흥법 위반 혐의로 구속영장을 청구하기로 했다.

강동희 감독은 2011년 3월 브로커 두명으로부터 수천만원을 받고 4차례 승부조작에 개입한 혐의로 이날 의정부지검에 소환돼 조사를 받고 있다. (연합뉴스)