COURTS

Croatian soccer player Sasa Mus jailed for match-fixing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 December, 2014, 4:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 December, 2014, 4:03am

A Croatian soccer player who was convicted of fixing a local division one match was yesterday jailed for 12 months in Eastern Court.

Sasa Mus, 28, a former Happy Valley player, was found guilty of teaming up with his side's sponsor, Michael Liao Siwei, and deputy manager Hinson Leung to fix the game with Royal Southern on November 30 last year.

Magistrate Lee Siu-ho said: "Match-fixing is not allowed and not tolerated in Hong Kong and it will be dealt with severely by the court." Lee did not read out his reasons for the verdict when he convicted Mus on a count of conspiracy to defraud on Friday. But while passing sentence, Lee said he found Mus had listened to Leung's half-time instruction not to play to the best of his ability in the game. He also said he found the idea had come from Liao.

"I find you were a willing conspirator with Michael and Hinson and the others … and you put it into effect," he said.

The court earlier heard that Happy Valley had been one goal up at half-time. But the team's performance dropped dramatically in the second half and they ended up losing 4-2.

Lee said there was no evidence to show that Mus had gained financially. But he found Mus' act had harmed the club in terms of reputation, loss of sponsorship and ticket sales. "You failed to perform as a sportsman to be respected," he told Mus. He said he considered that Mus' soccer career was over and that his family's financial situation would be at stake, but he still had to send him to jail.

Mus was arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption with eight others over match-fixing in January.

In October, Leung pleaded guilty in Eastern court to one charge of betting illegally on another game played by his team. He was fined HK$4,000. Mainland player and the team's former assistant coach, Fan Weijun, 35, was cleared of incitement to commit conspiracy on September 24, after a judge ruled he could not accept the testimony of a key witness, a former goalkeeper, on a phone conversation.