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TV show host gets suspended jail term for illegal gambling

A comedian-turned TV show host received a suspended prison sentence Thursday for illegal gambling.

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced Kim Yong-man to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, citing the seriousness of his crime.

He was also ordered to do 120 hours of community service.

The 45-year-old TV personality was indicted in April for betting some 1.3 billion won (US$1.13 million) with the use of at least two illegal sports betting websites from January 2008 to May 2011.

"His crime is serious in terms of its length and frequency as well as the amount of money spent," Judge So Byeong-seok said in the court decision.

"Kim deserves condemnation for committing a crime although he should set an example for others as a celebrity drawing much public attention."

Kim said he has no plan to appeal the ruling.

In court trials, he admitted to most of the charges against him and apologized in public.

After suspicions were raised in late March, Kim stepped down as hosts of KBS's talk show "Do Dream," MBC's "Section TV" and SBS's nighttime talk show "Star Couple Show Darling."

It is illegal for South Koreans to gamble in the country, except for at a single casino in Gangwon province.  (Yonhap News)