ex-basketball coach-indictment

EUIJEONGBU, South Korea, March 29 (Yonhap) -- Former professional basketball coach Kang Dong-hee was indicted by prosecutors on Friday on charges of fixing games, officials said.

Prosecutors here in Euijeongbu, north of Seoul, said Kang was among four people indicted for their role in the first match-fixing scandal to hit the Korean Basketball League (KBL). Kang, former head coach of the KBL team Dongbu Promy, was charged with receiving cash from brokers to fix four games during the 2010-2011 KBL season.

Kang first faced the prosecution's questioning on March 7 as the first active coach of a professional South Korean sports team to come under fixing allegations. Four days later, the Euijeongbu district court granted the prosecution's request for a warrant to detain Kang. He resigned from his coaching post on March 12.

Also indicted on Friday were two gambling brokers, each surnamed Choi and Cho, who allegedly paid Kang money to fix games. Cho is a former professional baseball player, according to prosecutors.

A fourth person was indicted on charges of supplying the brokers with cash. The man, surnamed Kim, is currently serving a two-year jail term for his role in a separate match-fixing scandal in pro football two years ago. Kim was convicted of opening an illegal sports betting website and paying six active players cash in exchange for rigging games.

Prosecutors said the two brokers made dozens of bets on illegal sports gambling websites after paying Kang to rig games. They said Choi, one of the two brokers, has known Kang for more than a decade and appears to have used his friendship with the ex-coach to coax him into the fixing scheme.

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.

Dubbed "Wizard on the Court," Kang is also regarded as one of South Korea's greatest point guards, dating back to the late 1980s and the early 1990s, before the launch of the professional league. He was the MVP in the inaugural KBL season in 1997 and led the league in assists four times.

The KBL is the latest South Korean pro sports league to be hit with a match-fixing scandal, following football, baseball and volleyball.

Han Sun-kyo, commissioner of the KBL, has said the league may ban Kang from basketball for life if he's found guilty.

In earlier match-fixing cases in other sports, players, active or retired, were found to have accepted cash from brokers who later made bets on illegal sports gambling websites.

These sites offer proposition bets, or "prop bets." They place odds on seemingly minor plays, such as the number of free throws made in the opening quarter of a basketball game, often with no cap on the amount of the wager. It's considered easier for gamblers to fix these minute plays.

The only legal form of sports betting in South Korea is through buying Sports Toto lottery tickets. Sports Toto offers odds on wins, ties, losses and the final scores. A bettor can only wager up to 100,000 won per ticket.

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