According to a report from Inven Global, players and staff members say that for several years, Longzhu Gaming has not been paying them on time.
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A member of a Korean League of Legends circuit called the LCK, or League Champions Korea, the Longzhu Gaming organisation has, players and staff claim, held back tens of thousands of dollars in payouts. Several players, including Bontaek "Expression" Gu and Jinhyun "Emperor" Kim, came forward with their stories of their pay being withheld without prior notice.
Some, like a staff member who talked to Inven under the condition of anonymity, say they eventually received salary. Others, like Emperor, have only been paid part of their contractually obligated wages.
"I was not paid a single dime while I was on contract," Emperor told Inven. "If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn't have joined Longzhu Gaming in the first place. The issue affected my performance as a player, and my relationship with the team. How was I supposed to focus on the game?"
When Inven contacted Longzhu head coach Hirai, he confirmed many of the allegations brought against the organisation. Contracts were not being signed on time, according to Hirai, and at this point, many wages remain unpaid. According to Emperor, the team has informed him that they will pay out within the year.
"The players trusted my words," Hirai told Inven. "So I feel somewhat responsible for this. I will talk to Expression again, and if the organisation doesn't pay, I want to pay his due from my own pocket."
We reached out to Longzhu Gaming about the story, but had not heard back at time of writing.