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China detains South Korean soccer player on suspicion of accepting bribe

South Korea midfielder Son Jun-ho has been detained in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning on suspicion of accepting a bribe, China’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Son was placed in custody “recently” and was under investigation. The South Korean consulate in the provincial capital of Shenyang had been informed of Son’s detention and allowed access to the player as required by international treaty.

Son had been playing for the Chinese Super League’s Shandong Taishan, and Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post said the bribery allegations concerned suspected match-fixing involving coach Hao Wei.

Wang gave no details on the timing or conditions of Son’s detention, but the Post said he was detained at an airport with his family on Friday while preparing to leave the country.

CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY EMPLOYEE BRAGS ABOUT INSANE WEALTH, PROMPTS CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION

The league only just restarted after being shut down under pandemic restrictions, teams are in dire financial straits, and nearly a dozen high-profile figures have been arrested on corruption allegations, including former men’s national coach Li Tie.

That comes despite a pledge by ruling Communist Party leader Xi Jinping to invest heavily to turn China into a soccer superpower. The drive has largely fallen flat, with the men’s national team ranked 81st in the world and professional teams relying heavily on high-priced foreign players to draw audiences.

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