One of Singapore's most successful professional gamers has been banned from the competitive gaming scene, after he was found to have breached game developer Riot Games' code of conduct.
League of Legends (LoL) player Wong "Chawy" Xing Lei, who plays for Taiwan-based squad Taipei Assassins, was found to have been paid to play on someone else's account, to artifically boost the other player's in-game ranking.
Commonly known as "Elo boosting", this practice frowned upon by the gaming industry for being unethical.
While Riot Games owns LoL, Wong's ban was enforced by Garena, the company that distributes the game in Taiwan and South-east Asia.
The 24-year-old's ban comes at a poor time for his team's five-man squad, which is preparing for the 2015 World Championship, the biggest LoL competition in the world.
The finals of last year's tournament drew 27 million online viewers, and this year's finals will be held on October 31 in Berlin.
Wong is one of the stars of the Singapore gaming scene, and has chalked up over US$50,000 (S$68,600) in prize winnings to date, mostly from multiplayer online battle arena games Dota 2 and LoL.
In a Facebook post dated August 2, Wong said: "I have been banned from participating in any LoL tournaments for a period of time (not too sure how long the ban would be yet), because of an event of elo boosting done during March 2014."
In his defence, Wong explained that he played on a friend's account after leaving local squad Team Singapore Sentinels, and before being hired by his current team Taipei Assassins. He has been based in Taiwan since April last year.
"I had no income, no future, no nothing. I had to earn what I can. Even though its just a small amount, I did it," he wrote.
A petition to lift the ban has been started on Change.org. It has garnered over 1,700 signatures.
Local LoL caster Jenny Lee says: "Given their history, it's unlikely that Garena or Riot will completely reverse the ban."
She adds that the timing of the ban is unfortunate, as it is now unlikely that he can take part in the World Championships.
This is not the first time that a professional LoL player has been banned for Elo boosting. In July, South Korean player Jeong "Raison" Soo-bin from team Hong Kong Esports was banned for a year for doing the same thing.