$26.7 mln soccer betting ring busted in Vietnam, kingpin arrested

By Lam Son   September 30, 2018 | 10:25 pm PT
$26.7 mln soccer betting ring busted in Vietnam, kingpin arrested
Lam The Tai, 48, is detained by police of the central province of Thanh Hoa. Photo by VnExpress
Police have busted a $26.7 million online soccer betting syndicate in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

Chinese-Vietnamese Lam The Tai, 48, the alleged mastermind, was taken in for questioning Sunday along with four others.

Tai regularly organized soccer betting on the website www.3in1bet and also helped gamblers mortgage assets, the police said.

Following a search on the five detainees’ houses the police seized around $7,500 in cash and documents related to their investigation.

An estimated $26.7 million had been funneled through the ring this year.

Last month four members of another online sports betting ring, based in Saigon, were sentenced to seven to nine years in jail. It had attracted thousands of gamblers around the country, and had transactions running to around VND622 billion ($26 million).

Vietnamese are known for their love of gambling. It is estimated that they spend at least $800 million a year gambling overseas, mainly in Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Official figures show that Vietnamese spent $13 billion on the lottery between 2011 and 2015, Nikkei reported.

While the government has legalized sports betting and said it would allow people aged over 21 with a monthly income of at least VND10 million ($445) to gamble at designated casinos, online betting remains proscribed.

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