Baseball: Taiwan player ordered to pay team over game-fixing

A former Taiwan baseball star has been ordered to compensate his team Tw$6 million ($203,000) for his role in a match-fixing scandal that rocked the island two years ago, a court said Wednesday.

Pitcher Chang Chih-chia, 32, was found to have hurt the image of his team La New Bears -- since renamed the Lamigo Monkeys -- and ordered to pay the hefty sum, the Taichung district court in central Taiwan said.

The Lamigo team was quoted by the Apple Daily newspaper as saying that it hopes the record compensation will serve as a warning to other players.

Sources in Taiwan's professional baseball league, who asked not to be named, confirmed it was the largest compensation amount ever forced on a player.

Chang was one of the island's brightest sports stars when he joined Japan's Saitama Seibu Lions in 2002 for a record signing fee of 120 million yen ($1.3 million at the current exchange rate) for a Taiwanese player.

However, he was convicted for accepting money from bookies to fix games and received a jail term of two years and two months in a much-publicised trial in 2011.

Five other former professional baseball players and a politician were also found guilty in the same case and sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years on gambling and fraud charges.

Prosecutors in 2009 started investigating claims that some players received cash, luxury cars and paid-for sexual services from bookies to deliberately lose games.

The case dealt a fresh blow to Taiwanese baseball, which has been hit by a string of similar scandals in recent years.

In 2008, Taiwan's baseball league banned the Media T-Rex team over match-fixing allegations implicating the team's management and three players, among others.