World Cup star arrested in connection with bribery case and held in custody

World Cup star Son Jun-ho has been arrested in connection with a bribery case.

The central midfielder, 31, was part of South Korea's 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup, making three substitute appearances as the East Asian side were knocked out at the quarter-final stage. Son, detained on his 31st birthday, is being held in police custody by Liaoning Public Security Department in connection to a bribery case, according to an official at South Korea's consulate-general in Shenyang.

Son, who was crowned the K League's most valuable player in 2020, plays his club football across the Yellow Sea in China, at Super League outfit Shandong Taishan. The probe comes amid a nationwide investigation to eradicate match-fixing and misconduct.

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An official from the Consulate General in Shenyang said on Monday (May 15th), via translation from Korean outfit News1: "The public security authorities in China's Liaoning Province are investigating Son in detention. Through the interview, we will find out what [Son] needs and confirm whether there were any human rights violations while in detention."

According to Yonhap News Agency, Son and other Shandong players had been questioned about match-fixing allegations surrounding their head coach, Hao Wei.

Shandong Taishan are yet to comment publicly on the matter. The club wished Son a happy birthday on the day he was detained via microblogging website Weibo.

A three-time K League 1 winner with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Son transferred to Shandong Taishan for the start of the 2021 season, featuring 21 times as Taishan Dui clinched a first title in over a decade.

His imperious performances at the heart of midfield earned him a call-up to the 2022 World Cup, where he made two cameo appearances from the bench as South Korea finished runners-up to Portugal in Group H.

The Asian side were pitted against five-time winners Brazil in the quarter-finals, Son playing the entirety of the second half as they exited the competition.


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