April 20, 2018 / 2:40 PM / in a year

Soccer - Sentencing delayed as Hong Kong continues match-fixing fight

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Former Hong Kong Player of the Year Lee Wai-lim, who pleaded guilty to match-fixing last year, has had his sentencing postponed until May 4, a day after four of his former team mates were acquitted.

Lee pleaded guilty to one count of being an agent accepting an advantage and another of conspiracy to defraud for his part in an attempt to influence games in Hong Kong’s reserve team league in the 2015-16 season.

He has been in custody since September.

Kwok Kin-pong, Michael Cheng Lai-hin, Chan Pak-hang and Lee Ka-ho were all released on Thursday after being found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud and of offering and accepting bribes.

Hong Kong Football Association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe said match-fixing continues to be an issue in the city.

“Match-fixing is an insidious cancer,” Sutcliffe said this week during the SoccerEx China forum in Zhuhai.

“Players have been fixing games and there are examples of that. There have been examples of players being convicted, losing their livelihoods, their reputation and sometimes they’ve lost their freedom because they’ve been given custodial sentences.”

Betting on matches played overseas is legal in Hong Kong but placing wagers on local games is prohibited. Sutcliffe has called on the authorities to look into changing the existing regulations.

Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Toby Davis

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