Chin-hui Tsao Denies Baseball Fixing

Prosecutors are questioning Taiwan league suspects about game-fixing allegedly involving top baseball players including former Major League Baseball pitcher Chin-hui Tsao, who pitched for the Dodgers in 2007. The scandal broke less than a day after the Uni-President Lions defeated the Brother Elephants 5-2 to win Taiwan's professional baseball championships title for the third year in a row.

Tsao, now a member of the Elephants, played for the Colorado Rockies as the first-ever Taiwanese pitcher to play an MLB game and the first Taiwanese player to get a hit. After serving with the Rockies from 2003 to 2005, he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007. Tsao worked 21 games in relief and recorded an 0-1, 4.38 record over 38.1 innings.

Investigators visited his house and he had been listed with five other Elephants players for questioning tomorrow, team chief Hung Juei-ho said.

Tsao pleaded his innocence, Hung said, who said he believed the star. The pitcher later issued a statement expressing his "anger and disappointment" in being accused of game fixing less than a year after returning from the U.S. to play for a Taiwanese team.

In addition to star pitcher Tsao, investigators also questioned a number of other Elephants players. Hung said that if any of his players were involved in game fixing, he would disband the team, leaving Taiwan with only three major teams, the Lions, the Sinon Bulls and the La New Bears.

Reports yesterday said the Banciao Prosecutors Office questioned 11 people involved in running the gambling scam and three witnesses, including current players, reports said. The brain behind the scheme, a man surnamed Tsai, was reportedly arrested at his home in Kaohsiung. A former Elephants trainer allegedly played the part of general coordinator for the gambling syndicate.

Speculation in the media indicated the scandal might involve Taiwanese and foreign players, as well as local players recently returned from the United States. Prosecutors reportedly first found evidence of the new game-fixing plot last year during their investigations into the scandal involving the dmedia T-Rex team, the Chinese-language United Evening News said yesterday.

The new group was the largest of five groups involved in game-fixing and had close ties to a major organized crime gang, the paper said.

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