Former top cops stand trial in massive gambling case

By Bao Ha   November 12, 2018 | 09:54 am GMT+7
Former top cops stand trial in massive gambling case
Phan Van Vinh, former director of the General Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, sits among cops at the trial on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Ha

Trial began Monday in a multimillion dollar online gambling case involving two former senior policemen and 90 others.

The trial opened in the Phu Tho People’s Court in the northern province, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Hanoi.

Phan Van Vinh, former director of the General Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the ministry’s Departmentfor High-Tech Crime Prevention, are charged with "abuse of power or position in performance of official duties." Vinh was arrested in April and Hoa a month earlier.

They could be sentenced to 5-10 years in prison.

The 90 other defendants are charged with six different crimes: gambling, organizing gambling, money laundering, and trading illegal receipts.

The trial, guarded by more than 500 cops on the opening day, is expected to last for 20 days.

Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the ministrys cyber crime division, arrives at the Phu Tho Peoples Court on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the ministry’s cyber crime division, arrives at the Phu Tho People's Court on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Investigations found Vinh had helped Nguyen Thanh Hoa and Nguyen Van Duong, chairman of high-tech security development company CNC, to set up the gambling ring, which was worth around $420 million when it was busted.

Duong had previously been working with Hoa’s division to provide technical support before setting up the gambling service in May 2015 with Phan Sao Nam, founder and former board chairman of major online communications firm VTC.

According to investigators, the gambling ring headed by Nam and Duong on web portals Rikvip/Tip.club had established a large network of 25 "tier 1 agencies" and nearly 5,900 "tier 2 agencies" with nearly 43 million user accounts since being launched in mid-2015.

The illegal ring was found to have generated a total income of over VND9.8 trillion ($426 million) and a profit of VND4.7 trillion. Out of this profit, Nam received nearly VND1.5 trillion, Duong got over VND1.6 trillion while a group of other suspects earned VND1.57 trillion.

The ring was first uncovered when police were investigating a fraud case involving mobile top-up cards in May last year. The scammer in the case claimed he had redeemed all the cards for virtual currencies used in an online gambling card game.

Investigating this claim, police discovered Nam and Duong's ring, which was run using two online game portals that resembled professional casinos in which players could gamble virtual money and convert their winnings to real money.

Prosecutors in Phu Tho said Vinh had not only turned a blind eye to the formation of the ring, but also actively signed documents to facilitate its formation.

Hoa was ordered by Vinh to sign documents allowing the ring to continue to function.

Vinh’s crime has had "extremely severe consequences" and "tarnished the police’s reputation," and Hoa tried to hinder investigations, the indictment said.

Organizing gambling or running gambling dens is punishable by up to 10 years in jail in Vietnam.

 
 
go to top