CHINA / SOCIETY
Former 'Wushu Sanda' champion suspected of involvement in organized crime
Published: Oct 12, 2021 03:19 AM
Handcuffs photo: VCG

Handcuffs photo: VCG



Reports that a former Wushu Sanda champion is suspected of involvement in organized crime have sparked heated discussion among Chinese society, with some showing pity and others calling for more attention toward retired sportspeople. 

Police in Hefei, East China's Anhui Province issued a notice on Saturday trying to collect information on suspects in a criminal group known for using violence to collect debts. The group consists of around 10 people and has been accused of disturbing social order and endangering people's lives and property.

What caught the eye of the public is that one suspect is Li Teng, who was the Wushu Sanda champion at the 2006 Asian Games.

The Anhui Wushu boxing sports management center, which Li used to be associated with, confirmed the person in the police notice is Li Teng, the Wushu Sanda champion.

"He is a retired sportsman, but never got his retirement paperwork done," an employee from the center told the media, adding that the center has contacted him several times to terminate his contract, but he never did.

Asked why Li might be connected with the gang, the employee said he didn't know. The Hefei police told the media that Li has not yet turned himself in.

Li has won several Wushu Sanda medals during his career. In 2005, he even won a medal during a world-level martial arts festival chaired by famous bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Li's case sparked heated discussion on the Internet with the topic viewed more than 747,000 times on Sina Weibo. Many expressed sadness about the fall of an outstanding sports star, while others said there needed to be more attention for what sportspeople do after retirement. 

In recent years, there have been other sad stories about retired medal-winners. For example, former weightlifting champion Zou Chunlan was found working in a bath house, triggering public discussion. 

The women's federation and sports bureau in Jilin Province, where Zou lived, later offered Zou help in opening a dry-cleaning shop.

But most netizens said that being a former champion doesn't mean Li should escape punishment for his wrongdoings, and urged Li to turn himself in as soon as possible.
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