SEOUL: A former South Korean national football player who was desperate for money after being banned for life for match-fixing has been arrested for robbery and kidnapping, police said yesterday.
Kim Dong-hyun, 28, and former professional baseball player Yoon Chan-soo, 26, are accused of kidnapping a woman and commandeering her Mercedes in Seoul’s wealthy Gangnam district.
The pair stole a van late on Friday and toured the neighbourhood for hours looking for a victim, a senior detective at Gangnam police station told AFP on condition of anonymity.
They followed the woman to her apartment car park where Dong-hyun allegedly threatened her with a knife and forced her into the passenger seat of her vehicle. He drove off as Chan-soo followed in the van.
Things went wrong when the woman, 45, jumped out of the Mercedes as traffic slowed. She hailed a taxi and told the driver to follow Dong-hyun and Chan-soo while calling the police.
According to the Korea JoongAngdaily, the pair told police they planned to steal the victim’s jewellery and force her to withdraw money from her bank account.
Dong-hyun was one of 10 players slapped with a lifetime ban by the Korea Football Association (KFA) for their roles in match-fixing schemes that shocked the country last year.
In total, 46 current and former players and 11 gang members and bookmakers were charged with fixing the results of 15 matches. Over 11 months, two players and a former coach committed suicide after they were charged or investigated.
Police said Dong-hyun had borrowed 100mil won (US$85,000) after his ban and launched a business but fell behind on repayments.
Chan-soo also had trouble making ends meet after being cut from a baseball team for poor performance. The pair were former colleagues at a military athletic unit. — AFP
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