Korean Court Hands Down ‘Suspended Sentence’ In Kang DUI Case

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — A Korean court has handed down a suspended prison sentence to Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang in a drunken driving incident.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, Kang has been sentenced to eight months behind bars for fleeing the scene of an accident last December while driving under the influence of alcohol.

However, the sentence will be suspended for two years. That ruling will now allow Kang to soon join the Pirates at Spring Training in Bradenton, Florida.

The Yonhap News Agency reports that prosecutors in the case were seeking a fine equal to more than $13,000 U.S. dollars; but, the Seoul Central District Court determined the case was serious enough that they wanted it to go to trial.

Police say Kang was drunk last December when he wrecked his car in Seoul. He was twice previously fined on drunk driving-related charges in 2009 and 2011.

A friend of Kang also attended the court hearing last month after being charged for falsely telling police that he, not Kang, was driving the vehicle.

After the hearing, Kang said, “I deeply regret what I have done. If I can get one last chance, I will become an exemplary player to earn respect from everyone.”

[graphiq id=”boOScry6idD” title=”Jung-Ho Kang” width=”600″ height=”601″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/boOScry6idD” link=”http://baseball-players.pointafter.com/l/18654/Jung-Ho-Kang” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

Kang hit 21 home runs and 62 RBIs in 108 games in 2016 in his second season in the majors. He is in the third year of a four-year contract he signed with Pittsburgh in 2015 after a stellar eight-year career in South Korean professional baseball.

Pirates President Frank Coonelly issued the following statement:

“Now that Jung Ho’s legal case in Korea has concluded, we will continue to work with him and his representatives in an effort to secure his work visa so that he may resume his career as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  We look forward to meeting with Jung Ho as soon as he is able to travel to the United States and having a serious discussion with him on this issue and how he has and will change those behaviors that led to the very serious punishment that has been levied against him in Korea.  We will withhold judgment on what Club discipline, if any, is appropriate until we have had an opportunity to have that discussion.  We will also withhold from further comment until we have an opportunity to meet with Jung Ho.  Regardless of our decision on the disciplinary issue, we will do everything that we can as an organization to assist Jung Ho as he works to change his behavior and grow into the man that we know he can be.”

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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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