by: KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press Updated:SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A South Korean court has upheld a suspended prison sentence for Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang over a drunken driving conviction, a ruling that may complicate his plans to rejoin the team for the baseball season.
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An official from the Seoul Central District Court said Thursday it dismissed Kang's appeal of a suspended two-year prison sentence over charges of fleeing the scene after crashing a car into the guardrail while driving drunk. The court official didn't want to be named, citing office rules.
Kang had sought to lower the punishment to a fine. His lawyers say the suspended prison term issued in March has led to visa issues that have prevented him from rejoining the Pirates. Kang had 21 home runs and 62 RBIs in 2016.
Pirates President Frank Coonelly released the following statement:
"We are aware of the ruling this morning in Jung Ho’s legal proceedings in South Korea, however, it is premature to comment on the impact, if any, it will have on his ability to secure permission to travel to the United States under a work visa. We will continue to work with Jung Ho and his representatives as he works through that process.”
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