Over the course of 15 years, players were threatened, a manager stabbed, mobsters bought an entire team, and even the high school baseball championship came under a cloud. Follow the jump for all the gory details If you want evidence of the dubious effectiveness of prohibition of vices, you need look no further than Taiwan and gambling. Since , their criminal code has made public gambling or providing a place for gamblers to assemble, an offense punishable by up to three years in prison.
But that has simply driven both sides underground and outside of regulation. It's the huge amount of money which changes hands, that has given the book-makers leverage on the players. The situation in Taiwan is not dissimilar to that of 19th-century players: they are under-paid [by major-league standards] and have few rights as far as free-agency goes.
Even the country's top players are hardly rich. The main target has been the Chinese Professional Baseball League, which was founded in Much like the Japanese league, teams are owned and named after corporations rather than cities: hence, there are the Brother Elephants and catchily-named Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions.
Those two franchise played each other in the league's first contest, on March 17, , and have dominated the pro baseball landscape in Taiwan, winning the championship in 14 of the league's 21 years in operation. Of course, it helps they are the only two survivors of the inaugural teams The first cracks began to show in August They believed the players had been bought off by a rival gang. Second baseman Wu Fu-lien was pistol-whipped, and the pitcher Chen Yi-hsin - nicknamed 'The Knife Thrower" highly-ironic, given the circumstances - had a pistol barrel shoved in his mouth.
The incident opened the eyes of the nation, and it was no longer possible for authorities to turn the traditional blind eye to such things. In September, the players involved were subpoenaed by the prosecutor's office, though all denied they had received money illegally. However, the following January, a trio of China Times Eagles players, Guo Jian-cheng, Ku Sheng-ki, and Chuo Kun-yuan, confessed under interrogation, triggering a domino effect for players both former and current.
On May 22, the Taipei Prosecutors Office prosecuted Guo and 12 other players, both Taiwanese and foreign, for fraud, breach of faith, and gambling. The Eagles franchise was left so short of players as a result, it had to borrow them from other teams to fulfill its schedule, and it was formally dissolved on September Given gambling on that scale, a mere quarter-million bucks seems like a solid bit of investment protection. The prosecutions resulted in the convictions of 21 players, a coach and a dozen gangsters of various crimes, while a President Lions outfielder vanished without trace , after coming under investigation.
But also showed that no level of baseball was immune from the problem. The high school championship that year, saw five members of the team from Pingtung High School withdrawn during a game by their concerned parents.
The youngsters concerned were allegedly threatened by strangers - as with the Elephants, apparently bettors concerned about their "investments. Up to 8 selections are allowed in one betslip. Please modify your selection. The bet amount is below the lower limit or exceeds the upper limit! On placing this bet means you have agreed with the rules and regulations for betting as currently available. Please use the operating system and browser version shown on Browser Version Support page when placing bets.
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