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$617-mln transnational gambling ring cracked

By Pham Du   November 8, 2021 | 01:30 am PT
$617-mln transnational gambling ring cracked
Police bust a gambling den in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of the police
More than 200 police officers helped take down a VND14 trillion ($617.8 million) online gambling ring operational across Vietnam.

The Department of Cybersecurity and Hi-tech Crime Prevention under the Ministry of Public Security had on Nov. 4 sent 15 task forces to inspect various addresses in Hanoi, northern provinces of Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Thai Nguyen, and Phu Quoc Island off the southern coast after a period of surveillance.

Police have detained 23 people, seized many documents and four Mercedes cars, including two Maybach, they announced Sunday.

They have identified three men, Pham Cong Anh, 42, Hoang Manh Lam, 34 and Dinh Van Hoang, 36, all residing in Lang Son, as ring leaders.

According to investigators, the ring operated a website and mobile application that allow users to play online games that reward them based on the amount of money they bet.

Players have to create an account to play aside from having their phone number registered to receive the OTP number. They could turn the digital coins won from the games into real money transferred into their bank accounts.

In order to play, players have to buy coins by topping up their phones or transferring money directly to several dealers in a provided list via their bank accounts or e-wallets. When dealers receive the money, the corresponding amount of coins would be transferred to player accounts.

It is estimated a total VND14 trillion had been transacted since July last year.

Online gambling is illegal in Vietnam.

There are a handful of licensed casinos in the country, but only foreign passport holders are allowed to gamble there. For now, only two casinos, one on the southern island of Phu Quoc and the other in Van Don in the northern province of Quang Ninh, may admit Vietnamese.

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