The KBO apologized for its mismanagement of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) team drinking controversy and handed down community service and fines to Kim Kwang-hyun (35, SSG Landers), Lee Yong-chan (34, NC Dinos), and Jeong Chul-won (24, Dusan Bears).
The KBO held a punishment committee meeting on July 7 at the Dogok-dong Baseball Hall in Seoul. It was a punishment committee for Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Chung Chul-won, who were involved in the WBC drinking scandal.
The Korean national baseball team played the first round of the WBC in Tokyo, Japan, in March. The team failed to advance to the second round. A YouTube outlet claimed that the players “drank alcohol in the room salon for three consecutive days starting the day before the game,” causing a stir.
The players admitted to drinking, but denied where and when. The location was not a room salon, but a snack bar. KBO contacted the manager of the establishment to confirm the time of entry, payment, and presence of staff. The manager said, “It’s a snack bar, and female servers don’t pour drinks or sit at the table.” Kim Kwang-hyun entered the bar on the seventh day after the team arrived in Tokyo and in the early morning hours of the 11th day, shortly after the game against Japan ended, while Chung Chul-won accompanied Kim Kwang-hyun once on the 11th. Lee Yong-chan entered and left the location in the early morning hours of the 11th separately from the two players.
The KBO requested the players to submit a statement of reasons and conducted a face-to-face investigation, and the players actively engaged in fact-checking by submitting credit card usage details.
As a result, the KBO decided to impose 80 hours of community service and a fine of 5 million won on Kim Kwang-hyun, who visited a bar twice during the tournament, and 40 hours of community service and a fine of 3 million won on Lee Yong-chan and Jung Chul-won, who visited a bar once.
The facts differed from the initial revelation by a YouTube channel. A KBO official said, “We have no plans to officially respond to the YouTube channel. I think it’s up to the players 안전놀이터.”