Report: Korean League of Legends pro in critical condition after a suicide attempt due to sponsorship scam

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By Rory Appleton – 13th March 2014
Report: Korean League of Legends pro in critical condition after a suicide attempt due to sponsorship scam

According to several reports, a Korean e-sports athlete jumped from a 12-story building in an apparent suicide attempt.

Cheon “Promise” Min-ki is in critical condition after surviving his fall. The extent of the injuries is not yet known, but several League of Legends insiders have taken to Twitter to keep people updated:

Min-ki left a lengthy suicide note on Facebook just before he jumped, which was roughly translated by several Reddit users here.

In the note, Min-ki indicates that his team, AHQ Korea, was involved in throwing professional games during the 2013 competitive season. He mentions two specific games against CJ Entus Frost and KT Rolster Bullets. The translation notes “Our matches versus KTB (game 1&2) and versus CJF (game 1&2) were supposed to be fixed. If you look at all four games, you’ll see that we gave first blood every time. We were losing in game 1 against KT, but then we came back. We knew at that point we could win the game, but in my mind we had to lose.”

Min-ki says that the team’s manager, Noh Dae Chul, orchestrated the intentional losses. Noh told the team that various leagues wouldn’t allow the team to play in playoffs if they beat any of the larger teams and that the team would lose its income.

Several of the team players went along with the scam because their rent, food, utilities, and computers were all paid for by AHQ Korea, or so they thought. “When we first made the team, we were told that AHQ sponsored us with cash and computers,” the translation says. “We didn’t know they only gave us gaming gear for rights to the team name. Our manager Noh had lied to us, and took out a loan to pay for our housing, living expenses, computers, and even our salaries. He was planning on placing illegal bets on eSports games and fixing them to win back the borrowed money and make a profit.”

Min-ki goes on to mention that he spoke to AHQ, a Taiwanese company, and that AHQ had only given the team its computers and the rights to the name. Noh had been collecting 50% of all prize money on his own behalf and saying that it was “dues” for AHQ. When the team confronted Noh, he refused to acknowledge the lie and ended up selling off their practice computers, trying to get their home’s utilities shut off, and telling them to leave.

The team told Noh that they were disbanding and eventually forced him into an agreement where he would pay their remaining salaries and not receive any future prize money from OnGameNet, a South Korean television network.

Understandably, the team lost their next match.

The note ends by saying “Because of these events, we couldn’t practice for a week. We played vs LG IM game, and Najin eventually won. We could have done better. I know I could have done better, but thanks to these events my professional career was over. After practicing to my best for a year, all I had left was a feeling of emptiness.”

It has been reported that another member of the AHQ Korea team tried to bring these events into the light earlier, but was sued by Noh for libel.

Korean news organizations have begun to report on the story.

MonteCristo, a League of Legends analyst in Korea, has been keeping people updated via Twitter:

KeSPA stands for Korean e-Sports Association. It is the largest such organization in Korea, and its scope is similar to that of the NFL or NBA in America. Competitive video gaming is a very serious professional sport in Korea.

This report will be updated.

Anyone contemplating suicide is urged to contact suicide.org or any other help line. Talk to someone. This type of thing should never happen.

UPDATE (2:34 a.m.): KeSPA chairman and Korean Senator Jeon Byeong-heon is currently addressing the public via OnGameNet. He confirmed the reports and indicated that his organization will take steps to give its players proper outlets to report abuse from managers and sponsors. He also confirmed that Min-ki is alive and in somewhat stable condition. 

UPDATE (1:49 p.m.): Inven, a large Korean e-sports website, has set up a donation page for Min-ki here. Wicked and several other professionals have pledged their streaming ad revenue (their main source of income) to Min-ki, so watching these streams will also help. 

UPDATE (6 p.m.): Team SoloMid, one of the oldest and most popular American League of Legends teams, will be donating 100% of its team store’s profits to Min-ki. This promotion ends March 19th. See below.