British snooker player Lee bound over for visa breach

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HONG KONG: Banned British snooker player Stephen Lee escaped serious punishment on Friday when he received a one-year bind-over order for breaching his condition of stay in Hong Kong.

Lee, who was banned from professional snooker for 12 years in 2013 for match-fixing, was accused of giving lessons for HK$1,000 (US$127) per hour at a Hong Kong billiards hall in April, when he was on a tourist visa.

Working paid or unpaid in Hong Kong without approval from the city’s Immigration Department carries a maximum fine of $50,000 and two years’ imprisonment.

Lee, 43, appeared in court Friday morning and denied the charge of breaching his condition of stay, but the prosecutor agreed to offer no evidence against him.

The magistrate bound over Lee for a year on HK$1,000, meaning he will be fined $1,000 if he re-offends.

“It’s been a tough last month or so. Thanks for all the support and I’m looking to relax for a couple of days,” Lee told media as he left Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court.

In 2013, the former world number five was banned from professional snooker after being found guilty of match and spot fixing in relation to seven matches from 2008 to 2009. He failed in an appeal to over turn the ban.

Lee was also fined £1,815 in 2014 after admitting fraud, after arranging to sell his cue to a fan in Hong Kong but never sending it.—AFP

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