Ex-Chinese table tennis star's MBS debt 'settled'

A friend of Mr Kong on Tuesday made a lump-sum payment of more than $500,000 to MBS. The amount covered the outstanding debt, interest and lawyer's fees.
A friend of Mr Kong on Tuesday made a lump-sum payment of more than $500,000 to MBS. The amount covered the outstanding debt, interest and lawyer's fees.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG • A friend of former world table tennis champion Kong Linghui has helped him pay off a debt owed to Marina Bay Sands (MBS), reported Hong Kong media.

The integrated resort has since applied to Hong Kong's High Court to terminate the legal proceedings against him, according to Sing Tao Daily. The MBS did not comment on the case when contacted by The Straits Times yesterday.

In a writ submitted to the Hong Kong court last week, the Marina Bay Sands said Mr Kong signed a credit agreement two years ago to borrow $1 million from it. The writ said he had since repaid $545,625, but failed to offset the balance in full, leaving $454,375 unpaid.

Sing Tao reported on Thursday that a friend of Mr Kong on Tuesday made a lump-sum payment of more than $500,000 to MBS. The amount covered the outstanding debt, interest and lawyer's fees, according to Sing Tao.

The newspaper added that MBS' lawyer applied to court to stop the legal proceedings the following day.

News of Mr Kong's gambling debt broke on Monday when he was in Dusseldorf, Germany, for the World Table Tennis Championships. He was suspended as head coach of the Chinese women's table tennis team and sent home to assist an official probe into the scandal, reported Xinhua news agency.

 
 

The Sing Tao report also said it is unlikely Mr Kong would be reinstated as the head coach of the women's team.

China has a "zero-tolerance attitude" towards behaviour which violates sporting ethics and laws, China's General Administration of Sport, the country's government agency which oversees sport, said in a statement on its website.

In a statement posted on his Weibo account on Monday, Mr Kong, 41, has said he had borrowed money for his family and friends while on holiday in Singapore but had not gambled himself.

Nicknamed Ping Pong Prince, Mr Kong is one of China's best-known table tennis stars, with two gold Olympic medals under his belt.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-Chinese table tennis star's MBS debt 'settled''. Print Edition | Subscribe