《TAIPEI TIMES》 Dinos players questioned over match-fixing, betting
Police escort Yulon Luxgen Dinos players to the Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office in Taipei on Friday. Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
KO MIN-HAO DETAINED: Suspects including players, coaches and underground bookmakers were allegedly involved in betting on SBL games, prosecutors said
By Wu Cheng-feng and Jason Pan / Staff reporters
The Yulon Luxgen Dinos’ Ko Min-hao （柯旻豪） was put in pretrial detention yesterday, and he is facing criminal charges along with other Yulon players and the team’s coaching staff, with prosecutors saying there is sufficient evidence indicating that they have been involved in betting and game-fixing.
After raids on Friday and the questioning of suspects at the Taipei Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office, individuals including several Yulon players were released on bail yesterday, while Ko became the first suspect to be detained in the investigation.
Ko and the Yulon Luxgen Dinos won the Super Basketball League （SBL） championship this year.
Leading the Dinos to their sixth SBL title in franchise history, Ko became the MVP of the season, while Senegalese center Sarr Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba was picked as the MVP of the championship finals.
In yesterday’s hearing, several Yulon players including Wu Yu-jen （吳祐任） and Chou Wei-chen （周暐宸） were granted bail of NT$300,000, while Bamba and Lee Chi-en （李其恩） were granted bail of NT$100,000.
Chiu Ta-tsung （邱大宗）, the Dinos’ head coach for the past three seasons, who has become the P.League+ Kaohsiung Steelers’ new coach, was released without bail, along with current Dinos head coach Lee Chi-yi （李啟億） and a team medical staff member Wei Chia-wei （魏嘉葦）.
Prosecutors broadened the probe after questioning former Dinos player Wu Chi-ying （吳季穎） last month about betting on SBL games and allegedly colluding with other players to fix games.
Wu Chi-ying was released earlier on bail of NT$250,000, while being listed as a suspect for offenses of fraud, illegal gambling and breaches of the Sports Lottery Issuance Act （運動彩券發行條例）.
The players and coaches, who were more recently questioned, are facing similar charges as those against Wu Chi-ying.
The court yesterday granted NT$150,000 bail to former Yulon assistant coach Chiu Chi-wei （邱繼緯）. Wu Chi-ying’s ex-girlfriend Huang Pin-hsuan （黃品瑄） was also granted NT$100,000 bail, while two other friends of his who allegedly helped him place bets were granted NT$60,000 and NT$30,000 bail.
Investigators said that evidence indicates many players — along with coaches, unlicensed bookmakers and others — were involved in betting on SBL games, adding that Chiu Chi-wei was suspected of being the main link to bookmakers, as he allegedly collected bets from players.
There has been speculation in the past few days that the vehicle and textile conglomerate Yulon Group might fold the Yulon Luxgen Dinos, a move that could lead to the collapse of the semi-professional SBL operated by the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association （CTBA）.
The club released a statement yesterday saying that it would dismiss all people involved with illegal betting, but would continue its operations.
Additional reporting by Lin Yue-fu