Eighteen skaters charged with illegal gambling in South Korea

The group have all been accused by the the Gyeonggi Bukbu Provincial Police Agency, according to Yonhap.

Gambling is widely outlawed in Korea and is something of a taboo subject.

The bets are said to total ₩1 billion (£600,000/$850,000/€750,000) and were placed on sports games on banned websites between January 2011 and February this year.

One coach, identified only by the surname Baek, is said to have spent ₩400 million (£235,000/$340,000/€300,000).

Some of the skaters involved competed in national team qualification for the 2016-17 season, police said, while one continued to gamble even after an investigation begun.

A high school student is said to be among the group, with bets placed on football, baseball and basketball matches.

The scandal in one of South Korea's most popular winter sports comes less than two years before the start of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.

In January, two baseball players were handed half-season bans for breaking the country's gambling laws, including Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Oh Seung-hwan.

They visited a casino in Macau - outside of Korean territory - but the strict laws also cover betting overseas.

Five speed skaters were also charged with gambling offences last month.

The only legal form of sports betting in South Korea are Sports Toto lottery tickets.


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