Hanoi man stands trial for running $47M online gambling racket

By Thanh Lam   April 3, 2024 | 08:34 pm PT
Hanoi man stands trial for running $47M online gambling racket
Nguyen Minh Thanh (C) and his accomplices stand trial in Hanoi, April 4, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Danh Lam
The trial of a man and his 10 accomplices who operated two gambling websites that attracted bets of VND1.18 trillion (US$47.4 million) in four months begins in Hanoi Thursday.

Nguyen Minh Thanh, 35, of Cau Giay District and his accomplices, aged 27-35, face charges of "organizing gambling."

Of the latter, Vu Tien Duy, Bui Nhat Anh, Pham Trung Thanh, and Tran Duc Cuong were reportedly key participants and received payments of VND3-18 billion each from Thanh.

The court will also try 42 others for "gambling," most of them aged 20-30 and from Hanoi.

The gambling ring first came to light on Aug. 18, 2021, when police in Nam Tu Liem District kept an eye on Thanh and Trong who "showed suspicious signs."

When the duo withdrew a lot of cash from an ATM, officers stopped and questioned them.

But the two could not account for the origin of the money, and so the officers took them for further questioning.

This led to the discovery of Thanh's million-dollar gambling racket, which had been active since 2019 after he developed online gambling software.

He created two online games, SOCVIP, later changed to SUMVIP, and VUACLUB, that allowed people to gamble using virtual currency.

Players had to buy virtual currencies named SUM and VUA by using phone cards, transferring money through e-wallets or through bank transfers.

The game automatically collected a 1% fee on the total bets, and winners were charged an additional 1% fee at the end.

The ring had 160 agents for players to exchange the virtual money back into cash, and they would pay VND83,000 for VND100,000 of the former.

The Hanoi People's Procuracy – the prosecutors' office – determined that in just four months in 2021 the sites had attracted six million players who loaded as much as VND1.184 trillion into the games.

In October 2021, when the police carried out raids, they found Thanh alone owning five luxury cars worth VND50 billion and three fancy apartments in Hanoi.

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