The snooker world was rocked last autumn after a match-fixing scandal came to light, with a staggering 10 Chinese players being sanctioned earlier this year following an investigation. And Liang Wenbo and Li Hang felt the full force of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) Disciplinary Commission as they were banned for life from the sport.
Wenbo burst onto the snooker scene when he came out of nowhere to reach the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship as a 21-year-old in 2008. He carved out a reputation for his long potting and break-building abilities and reached the final of the UK Championship in 2015 before losing 10-5 to Neil Robertson.
Wenbo was found guilty of fixing or being party to fix five snooker matches between July and September last year. The 36-year-old also solicited, induced, enticed, persuaded, encouraged or facilitated players to fix nine matches and also broke rules by gambling on matches.
He also threatened another player, deleted messages from his phone and failed to cooperate with the WPBSA enquiry. Wenbo, who was ranked at No 72 when his ban was handed down, was also ordered to pay costs of £43,000.
According to Cue Tracker, Wenbo played 769 matches during his 17 years as a professional and won 457 of them. He hit 284 century breaks and two 147 maximums, rising to a career-high ranking of No 11 during the 2016/17 season. He earned over £1.3million in prize money and took on blockbuster star Ronnie O’Sullivan on 12 occasions, winning once.
Hang, meanwhile, first played a tournament as a professional at the 2008 Jiangsu Classic where he beat Ali Carter. However, he soon lost his place on the tour and was forced to compete as an amateur for a number of years. The 32-year-old reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Open in 2020 before being knocked out by O’Sullivan.
Like Wenbo, Hang was also hit with a £43,000 fine alongside his ban after he was found guilty of fixing or being party to fix five snooker matches. He solicited, induced, enticed, persuaded, encouraged or facilitated players to fix seven matches. Hang, who was ranked at No 71 when he was banned, also bet on matches and attempted to cover up his involvement by deleting phone messages and requesting other players do the same.
According to Cue Tracker, Hang won 213 of his 411 matches as a professional and hit 112 century breaks. The former star had a highest break of 145 and reached a career high ranking of 29 in the 2018/19 season. He earnt just over £500,000 during his career and lost all four of his encounters with legendary player O’Sullivan.
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