Former Yakult Star’s Gambling and Debt Woes | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former Yakult Star’s Gambling and Debt Woes

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Im, during his time at Yakult, was highly regarded as a closer.

The glory of overpowering the power hitters of the Central League has been completely lost. Former professional baseball player Im Chang-yong (48, also known as Lim Chang-yong), who recorded a total of 128 saves as Yakult’s closer.


In the second trial held at the Gwangju District Court in South Korea on June 11th, Im faces charges of fraud as a defendant. He allegedly lied, claiming he would sell stocks owned by his wife to repay a debt three days later, borrowing approximately 9.1 million yen from an acquaintance in the Philippines. It’s reported that he spent the borrowed money on baccarat gambling and avoided repayment. 

“Im, who shone as a four-time saves leader in Korea and showcased flawless pitching in four games up to the semi-finals of the March 2009 WBC, has been known as a troublemaker since his playing days. From missing charter flights due to oversleeping to causing accidents at training camps, he earned the reputation of being a ‘troublemaker.’ Since retiring in March 2019, his troubles have only increased. He’s been detained by the police not just once or twice.” (Sports Reporter)


“Keep your promises.”

Amidst a series of scandals, reflecting on Im’s downward spiral in life:

“In June 2020, Im was criticized by the South Korean National Tax Service for delaying payment of approximately 20 million yen in taxes for over a year. Then in July, he borrowed about 2.5 million yen from a female acquaintance. Despite the overdue repayment date, he only returned 1.5 million yen. Frustrated, the woman repeatedly implored him to ‘keep his promises.’ Eventually, she reported him to the police, leading to his formal investigation in April 2021 after ignoring multiple summonses.

Im reportedly struggled financially due to the failure of his sunglasses business, which he managed himself. On the other hand, he had a habit of lavish spending. Rumors of troubles continued, and since retiring, he has had little work as a commentator or analyst. It’s said he borrowed money not only from this woman but also from several others.” (South Korean journalist)

Im’s troubles extend beyond these incidents. In July 2022, he was prosecuted for involvement in illegal gambling, receiving a six-month suspended prison sentence, two years of probation, and a fine of approximately 340,000 yen. Additionally, he faced charges of fraud in January this year for failing to repay debts to acquaintances in the Philippines, as mentioned earlier, and is currently undergoing trial.


Having also pitched on the Major League Baseball mound as a Chicago Cubs player, Im’s journey to rehabilitation and a second life hinges on how deeply he reflects and reevaluates himself, not only in Japan and South Korea but globally.


  • PHOTO Jiji Press

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