Wellington, Jan 11: New Zealand's cricketers have been warned to be wary of "honey traps", which could be laid by sophisticated match fixing syndicates and betting chiefs during the upcoming ODI World Cup.
A little more than a month before the showpiece event gets underway in Australia and New Zealand, Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills said today that he was convinced match fixers would try to influence the outcome of the tournament.
Mills and the New Zealand Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), a statutory body for New Zealand sports betting, believe glamorous women luring stars and then blackmailing them have become one of the biggest risks.
"I have no doubt that match fixing groups will be looking at New Zealand and that they have had people on the ground in New Zealand previously," Mills was quoted as saying by 'The New Zealand Herald'.
He said all players were being given a 90-minute presentation on match fixing risks, including honey traps, and which will be backed by an ICC briefing before the tournament begins with New Zealand playing Sri Lanka on February 14.
Mills said honey traps were one of many tactics used by sophisticated international criminal groups, which blackmailed players in order to beat the bookies.
Players were sometimes groomed for years before the trap was set. "They might notice the person has got family troubles, they might notice they've got financial issues or mental health issues (which they can threaten to expose)."
"The honey trap might be part of that grooming process where there are compromising images or what-have-you," Mills said.
TAB spokesman Mark Stafford said such blackmail could prove more persuasive than traditional match-fixing. Match fixing became a crime in New Zealand last year with the passing of the Crimes (Match Fixing) Amendment Bill.