Promise, League of Legends Pro, Attempts Suicide After Exposing Match-Fixing Scandal

Korean League of Legends pro survives a suicide attempt after mistreatment and abuse by team manager.

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 was a somber day in professional gaming, after word broke out on Reddit that a professional League of Legends player had attempted suicide. After revealing an eSports match-fixing scandal then jumping off a twelve-story building, Cheon "Promise" Min-Ki has since recovered from a coma around 9:30 p.m. EST last night.

Promise was the AD Carry for the South Korean AHQ eSports team. However, he revealed that the team was merely created by the manager to lose on purpose so he could illegally bet against them.

Manager Noh told our team that Ongamenet had threatened him: “If we don't lose to the big teams (KT, CJ etc), our team would be unable to play in the playoffs” (obviously this was a lie, but we didn't know at the time). 

At first the manager, Noh Dae Chu, told Promise and one other player, Actscene, that the only way AHQ would be able to play in the OGN League of Legends tournament was if they purposely lost the games they played against big name teams (such as KTB and CJF). According to a translation by Reddit user AskMeAboutZombies, Promise wrote this:

Manager Noh told our team that Ongamenet had threatened him: “If we don't lose to the big teams (KT, CJ etc), our team would be unable to play in the playoffs” (obviously this was a lie, but we didn't know at the time). 

After working so hard to become a professional gamer, Promise and his teammate decided to go along with fixing the matches as to not have all of their hard work making it to the semifinals be for nothing.

Promise admitted to losing to Frost on purpose, after just having beaten them in a scrimmage that very morning.

After confessing to their other teammates about participating in the match fixing, the team decided to confront Noh:

Noh said we should bet against ourselves in the upcoming games with Najin later that week, throw both games to make a shit-ton of money, and then “Get the f**k out of the pro scene.” We told him that we weren't interested in illegal gambling and wouldn't do it.

After standing up to their manager with little effect, the team returned to their gaming house to find three practice computers had been sold, and Noh was in the process of "clearing out the house." Noh threatened the team to leave the house, warning them that the electricity and water would soon be turned off due to AHQ demanding their money back for the team. Promise decided to contact AHQ directly and found out that AHQ had actually never sponsored them in the first place.

Team manager, Noh, had lied about the sponsorship and actually borrowed money from various loan sharks to buy their house. To the players' surprise, the gaming equipment was given to the players for rights to the team name and nothing more. Noh had been planning to make all his money back by betting against the team. Later on the team discovered that Noh was selling their computers to "pay off his debt and run."

The team confronted Noh once more to announce everyone's departure from the team and to demand the rest of the player's salaries.

Noh kept insisting he had to pay AHQ, but at this point we knew he was lying out of his ass. When we showed evidence of his lying, he argued it was false. After 2~3 hours of arguing, we came to an agreement that Noh would pay our salaries for the months owed and would not contest any prize money won from OGN.

During all of the previous events, the AHQ team wasn't able to practice. Not only were the living conditions for these players revolting, but sometimes they were not even fed.

Promise was rightfully devastated. He had spent countless months pouring his heart into becoming the best player he could be and had nothing to show for it besides very poor performances in matches "and a feeling of emptiness." For Promise, pro gaming was an escape from his unfortunate living conditions from back home. Reddit user cakezz15 wrote that Promise's father left when he was 15, and his family had no heating.

Promise ended his post with these heart-wrenching words:

tl;dr: I’m not in this world after 5 minutes, AHQ Korea was a team made by Noh to profit off illegal gambling, teammates didn’t know and we had to fix games because of this. AHQ Taiwan never sponsored our team, it was a lie. I am sorry for all of this, and I can’t tell you everything, but I’m leaving now as I cant deal with this anymore.

The Reddit thread dedicated to updates about Promise's condition had made it very clear that the League of Legends scandal was not the only reason for his suicide attempt.

Hoon, a fellow teammate of Promise, reported to Facebook that after jumping from this building, Promise is in a hospital in Busan, Korea but is not in critical condition.

Promise's fall was broken via a recycling collection bin. Passersby reported hearing a voice saying "Help me," from inside the recycling center. When police arrived on the scene, his condition was not serious.

Yonhap News has released these photos of the recycling center roof that had broken Promise's fall.

A chairman of the Korean eSports Association, KeSPA, announced that they will be working with Korean police and Riot Korea to organize an investigation of the events presented in Promise's confession. The act of illegally betting on Korean eSports games, or "Toto," is a very serious criminal act in Korea.

There is also word of Riot, the developer of League of Legends, forming an internal task force to investigate current and future match-fixing. It has also stated that "it will spare no expense in aiding Promise's full and complete recovery." (via Kotaku).

MonteCristo, a well-known League of Legends Broadcaster, has taken to Twitter to aid Promise's family in medical expenses. Reddit user lilsusie has created this thread with specific instructions on how to donate to a bank account created by Inven, a Korean eSports website. Many streamers, such as GoaCast and Wickd, are also donating any revenue earned from their streams directly to the bank account set up for Promise.

 As of now, it is reported that Promise will make a slow, but full recovery.


 If you'd like to help fund Promise's recovery, the donation link is here.

For anyone contemplating suicide, you are not alone. Friends, family, and volunteers are here to listen.

Featured Columnist

All I'm saying is, no one's ever seen me and Batman in the same room.

Published Mar. 13th 2014
  • Bereaver_6562
    Well, he's Korean, so add Korea to your list of places where eSports is huge~
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    I'm on the fence about this. At any point Promise could have walked away with his dignity. Playing games for a living is not worth that.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I agree, walking away is my number one choice too. Though having attempted suicide in my youth, I understand the state of mind he must've been in. That said... eSports is a huge thing in China and Japan, so I understand how he felt his "life was a lie." Considering that was his ticket out, I'm sure he felt he didn't have any other options... which is sad.
  • Death Metal Hero
    I hope he recovers quickly. Although one door has closed, another always opens.

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