Three football stars said to have seriously damaged Hong Kong's global sporting reputation by throwing a World Cup qualifying match for money had their prison sentences slashed yesterday. Mr Justice Michael Burrell said the 22-month jail term imposed on each of the former Hong Kong internationals was too long. Kevin Lok Kar-win, 25, and Chan Chi-keung, 29, had their sentences reduced to 15 months while Wai Kwan-lung, 23, who became involved at a late stage, had his term slashed to 12 months. Fines of $30,000 each will stand. The judge said it was 'undoubtedly true' damage had been done to Hong Kong's reputation and that the players had breached the trust placed in them as members of the team. But these factors, regarded by Magistrate Robert McNair as aggravating the case, did not justify his decision to increase the sentence he would otherwise have imposed by almost 25 per cent, Mr Justice Burrell said in the Court of First Instance. Mr Justice Burrell also took into account that their former teammate, Chan Tsz-kong, 26, described as the ringleader, had been given only a 12-month sentence after pleading guilty to plotting to cheat at gambling. Lok, Chan and Wai succeeded with appeals against the sentences, but failed to have their convictions for handling proceeds of the betting scam overturned. Mr Justice Burrell rejected claims that the conduct of the players was not covered by the offence they were convicted of. He also ruled the magistrate had been right to reverse his earlier 'fundamentally flawed' decision not to allow Chan Tsz-kong to give evidence for the prosecution. Mr McNair had initially ruled that his testimony would be too unreliable, but later changed his mind. The players' lawyers had argued that the reversal was unjust. But Mr Justice Burrell said: 'It makes no sense to say the magistrate must continue a trial in a straitjacket, blocked in by his own error, when to do so would fly in the face of a just and fair trial.' Another player, Lee Wai-man, 25, who was acquitted after the magistrate's original decision not to allow Chan to give evidence, may face a new trial.