China says South Korean footballer detained in alleged bribery case

Beijing (AFP): South Korean international footballer Son Jun-ho is in police custody in northeast China in connection with a bribery case, Beijing’s foreign ministry said Tuesday.

World Cup midfielder Son was detained “on suspicion of accepting bribes by non-state employees”, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, without offering further details.

Police “will provide necessary facilities for South Korean diplomats to perform their consular duties”, he added.

Son has played for Chinese Super League side Shandong Taishan since 2021 and appeared in three of South Korea’s four matches at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Chinese outlet Sina Sports reported he was detained on Friday, the same day his club posted a message on its official Weibo account wishing him a happy 31st birthday.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing a diplomatic source, that Son had been “questioned by public security authorities in Liaoning province while in detention”.

His arrest comes after a slew of corruption probes in recent months targeted the head of China’s football governing body and other top officials.