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Pitchers fined for overseas gambling

2016/01/15 10:46

SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- Two South Korean baseball pitchers have been ordered to pay fines of 10 million won (US$8,300) each for illegally gambling abroad, court officials said Friday.

Oh Seung-hwan, a South Korean relief pitcher who signed his first big league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week, and free agent Lim Chang-yong were summarily indicted last month on charges of gambling 40 million won each in Macau in November 2014.

The Seoul Central District Court handed down the summary order, giving them the severest monetary penalty possible for gambling charges which was higher than what prosecutors had sought -- 7 million won.

Prosecutors are known to have concluded that the gambling was not habitual but a one-time event during a holiday.

Last week, the two received a half-season, or 72-game, suspension from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the nation's top professional league for their charges.

Both are top-notch closers with proven track records. Oh is the KBO's all-time leader with 277 saves recorded over nine seasons with Samsung Lions. He then led the Central League in saves in both of his two years with the Tigers. In 2014, he had 39 saves with a 1.76 ERA while striking out 81 times in 66 2/3 innings. Then last year, he tied Tony Barnette with 41 saves, despite a leg injury that prematurely ended his season in December, along with a 2.83 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings.

Lim is one of only a few South Korean players to have competed in the KBO, NPB and MLB. He made his KBO debut with the Haitai Tigers in 1995. He pitched for the Lions from 2000 to 2007 before leaving for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows Japan, where he picked up 128 saves -- the most by a South Korean pitcher in the NPB -- over five seasons. He had a brief stint with the Chicago Cubs in 2013 before returning to the Lions before the 2014 season. He was released by the Lions in November 2015 while being investigated.

scaaet@yna.co.kr

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