China’s conclusion on the case involving South Korea’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar player Son Jun-ho, 31, is expected by November 2023.
Citing South Korean sources, China’s Tian Tian Kandian reported, “The investigation by the Liaoning Provincial Public Security Bureau (local police agency) is expected to conclude this month. There is a possibility that the Supreme People’s Procuratorate will indict Son Jun-ho, who refuses to plead guilty, and put him on trial.”
Son has been under investigation for bribery by the Liaoning Provincial Public Security Bureau since May 12. On June 18, a warrant requested by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate was issued, changing his status to criminal suspect.
South Korea’s ambassador to China, Chung Jae-ho, appeared before the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Work Committee and said, “Whenever I meet with officials, I mention the investigation of Son Jun-ho for the sake of the friendly atmosphere between our two countries.”
China has not responded officially, except for a Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirming Son’s detention. Delegations sent by the KFA’s general manager and a lawyer also returned without success.
Ambassador Jung Jae-ho said, “China refuses to provide specifics, saying it is an ‘under investigation’ case. We are actively checking whether Son Jun-ho’s health or human rights are being violated,” said Ambassador Jung.
Son is a defensive/central midfielder who starred for Shandong Taishan in the 2021 Chinese Super League with four goals, four assists and 0.40 attacking points per 90 minutes in 21 games. If the year-end awards hadn’t been canceled due to COVID-19, he would have been the favorite for MVP.
Shandong re-signed Son to a contract through the 2025 season as soon as 2022 rolled around. They even included an option for a one-year extension. The club moved quickly to secure his services after Southampton, Fulham, and other English professional soccer teams were interested in signing him.
Son also shined in the Korean professional soccer, winning the K League 1 Assist King (2017) and MVP (2020). He was also one of two Chinese Super League players to make the final 32-nation roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
However, in June this year, Shandong Taishan removed a poster they had put up to promote Son to visitors to their home stadium. They also removed a photo of the inside of the locker room to show teammates that it was his locker. 무지개토토
Eventually, Son was released by Shandong Taishan at the end of the first half of the 2023 Chinese Super League. If his contract was terminated based on a formal investigation by China’s Ministry of Public Security, he may not receive the rest of his salary.
Ambassador Chung explained that he is calling on the Chinese side to “release Son Jun-ho (to ensure his right to defense), conduct a fair investigation, and reach a quick result (if possible) so that Korean sentiment does not deteriorate.
South Korea’s head coach Jürgen Klinsmann (59-Germany) stressed that he still considers Son Jun-ho to be a key player, saying after the 4-0 home win over world No. 32 Tunisia on Oct. 13, “He is the most suitable defensive midfielder for our aggressive tactics.”