Japanese coach arrested over alleged baseball match-fixing

TaipeiĀ  - Taiwan police have arrested the former coach of a Taiwan baseball team over his alleged involvement in match fixing, press reports said Tuesday.

Shim Nakagomi, former coach for Brother Elephants, was at the Taoyuan International Airport Monday afternoon as he was to board a flight for Japan, the Apple Daily said.

Nakagomi rushed to the airport to return to Japan a few hours after a prosecutors had telephoned to tell him that he would be summoned in the afternoon for questioning.

Nakagomi said he was busy and hung up the phone. Then he rushed to the airport to catch a China Airlines flight to Japan's Okinawa Island, but was detained by police, the daily said.

Nakagomi claimed he was not aware he was barred from leaving Taiwan. Since his one-year contract with the Elephants expired on May 3, he had planned to return to Japan to look for work.

According to the Apple Daily, Elephants terminated its contract with Nakagomi after it realized that 11 Elephants players were suspected of involvement in match fixing. The team also learned that Nakagomi met with Chuang Hung-liang, the contact between the rookie and baseball players, one or two months ago, the Apple Daily said.

Nakagomi denied helping throw games.

Nakagomi, 39, was a pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers in the 1990s. He joined Elephants in 2002 and became the coach for the Elephants in early 2008.

The latest match-fixing scandal become public on October 26, and prosecutors have questioned more than a dozen players from three teams, but no one has been indicted yet.

Press reports said the match-fixing began in May, with gangsters paying players up to 3 million Taiwan dollars (90,000 US dollars) for throwing games.

Sports analysts blame the constant match-fixing scandals in Taiwan baseball on a lack of law enforcement, indiscipline in baseball teams and low salaries for players. (dpa)

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