Former Hong Kong footballer of the year will admit match-fixing, court told
Lawyers for Lee Wai-lim say the former Pegasus star will plead guilty to fraud and bribery charges
A former Hong Kong footballer of the year was remanded in jail custody on Thursday after indicating to a court that he would admit fixing matches.
Lawyers for Lee Wai-lim – who used to play for Pegasus in the city’s Premier League – told the District Court that he intended to plead guilty to joint fraud and bribery charges linked to HK$20,000 he received in 2016.
Lee, 36, who won the coveted award in 2009, did not ask for an extension of his bail and was then escorted away by correctional services officers.
He was one of five former Pegasus players charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption last month in relation to several alleged conspiracies that they had fixed three matches while offering and accepting bribes totalling HK$60,000.
The seven charges relate to games played during the 2015/2016 reserve division season.
Co-defendant Kwok Kin-pong, 30, asked the court for more time as he was in the process of applying for legal aid. Michael Cheng Lai-hin, 31, Chan Pak-hang, 24, and Lee Ka-ho, 24, said they needed more time to seek legal advice.
Judge Lam Kar-yan granted them time by adjourning the case to September 19.
The court has heard that the first fraud charge centred on a period between February 24 and 29, 2016. Kwok and Cheng are accused of conspiring together, and with unknown people, to defraud Pegasus and the Hong Kong Football Association by trying to fix a reserve match between Pegasus and Yuen Long on February 24.
Linked to that game, Cheng faces another bribery charge for allegedly offering HK$10,000 to someone who then played for Pegasus.
Another joint fraud charge alleges that between March 23 and 31, 2016, Cheng, Lee Wai-lim, Chan and Lee Ka-ho conspired together and with a player of Biu Chun Rangers to defraud Pegasus and the HKFA by trying to fix a reserve game between Pegasus and Biu Chun Rangers on March 23.
Chan faces a bribery charge for allegedly offering HK$10,000 to a Pegasus player on March 27 to influence that game. Lee Wai-lim and Lee Ka-ho each face one bribery charge for allegedly accepting HK$20,000 between March 23 and 31 for that game.
The remaining fraud charge alleges that between April 13 and May 13, 2016, Cheng, Lee Wai-lim and Chan conspired together and with the Biu Chun Rangers player to fix another reserve match between Pegasus and Biu Chun Rangers on April 13.
The ICAC previously said the HKFA and Pegasus had provided full assistance during its investigation.