Attempts to bribe a top referee and pay a provincial team to throw a match during martial arts tournaments in China's national games are being investigated, according to sports industry insiders. Wan Li, chief referee at martial arts competitions held last month as part of the national games in Guangdong province, told Chinese sports officials and reporters that individuals trying to buy the outcome of certain matches paid him more than 10,000 yuan (HK$9,300) in three incidents and two different cities. Mr Wan said he handed the money to sports officials and pressed them to launch an investigation. An official in the press office of China's Martial Arts Association confirmed reports of bribery were being looked into, but declined to provide details. Another member of the association, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: 'Attempts to bribe referees during important matches are not that rare, but the Martial Arts Association has launched a crackdown against the practice, so there are probably more reports about bribery now.' The reports came as Beijing gears up to host the Olympic Games for the first time in 2008. The Shanghai Morning Post yesterday quoted Li Jie, head of the Martial Arts Association, as saying bribery reports by Mr Wan and the Jiangsu provincial team in the martial arts competition would be thoroughly reviewed. The newspaper said the Jiangsu team allegedly had been offered bribes that started at 100,000 yuan and peaked at twice that amount to lose a competition, but that the team had refused the bribe and reported it. But the press official at the martial arts group said the report contained exaggerations. He declined to elaborate.