Hong Kong: footballers arrested on suspicion of fixing matches

Authorities believe this may be one of the biggest match-fixing cases in Hong Kong.
Authorities believe this may be one of the biggest match-fixing cases in Hong Kong.

Among those arrested were a coach and 11 footballers from the same team.

Hong Kong.- Police have arrested 23 people, including a coach and 11 players from the same football on suspicion of being involved in match-fixing. According to authorities, those arrested may be linked to a betting syndicate that manipulated games in the Hong Kong Premier League.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which launched the investigation, suspects that a first-division team in the ongoing 2022-23 season received bribes to manipulate match outcomes for an illegal football gambling operator.

According to reports from the South China Morning Post, the investigation uncovered a bookmaking syndicate that employed three strategies to rig games: inducing players to underperform, controlling the final score, and exploiting shifting odds by adjusting bets.

Chief investigator Allen Leung Wing-hang said that prior to matches, members of the betting ring approached players and coaches to negotiate match-fixing arrangements. During the games, they allegedly communicated with players through exaggerated gestures, like adjusting their socks or hooded jackets to signal specific actions or outcomes.

Once the match concluded, players were allegedly rewarded based on their performance, with potential payouts reaching thousands of Hong Kong dollars. Authorities suspect that some players may have placed bets themselves on the manipulated matches. The fallout is expected to be felt throughout the Hong Kong Premier League, raising questions about the integrity of the sport and the measures in place to combat match-fixing. 

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