Hong Kong Jockey Club Suspends Two Jockeys

The board of stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club suspended the licenses of jockeys John Egan and Robert Fradd Saturday in the wake of the Independent Commission Against Corruption's investigation into possible race fixing. Four Jockey Club employees have also been suspended from their duties.

The jockeys have been suspended until March 8 and the four employees are to remain suspended until further notice while the stewards conduct an inquiry into the matter.

"The Club has always co-operated with law enforcement agencies to maintain the integrity of Hong Kong racing," Lawrence Wong, the club's chief executive, said in a press release issued Saturday. "This is an ongoing investigation and there have not been any charges yet. It is clearly not appropriate for us to comment on this specific case but we can assure you that the Jockey Club takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the interests of the racing public and the many good and honest people associated with our sport."

A Reuters news service report Friday said the ICAC's "Operation Green Grass" resulted in the arrest of 19 people, including two jockeys, four HKJC employees, a suspected illegal bookmaker, a saleswoman, and a gambling consultant.

According to Reuters, the ICAC issued a statement that said, "It was alleged that two jockeys and the four Hong Kong Jockey Club employees had accepted advantages from illegal bookmakers as rewards for supplying stable racing information and manipulating race results." It also said the investigation is continuing.

A Racing Post report says the jockeys were released on bail without charge on Friday. The jockeys were among nine detainees who remained in custody on Friday, all of whom were later released on bail.

After spending more than 36 hours in custody, Egan told the Racing Post following his release, "I have not been charged with anything. I am assisting ICAC with its inquiries, along with my lawyer. I have been advised to say no more than that." Fradd did not comment.

The Racing Post also reports a 20th person was arrested Thursday night is believed to be a member of the alleged illegal bookmaking ring.