Lottery winners hounded out of their home after $4 million jackpot win

By Cuu Long   October 20, 2016 | 03:33 pm GMT+7
People have traveled for hours to get a slice of Vietnam’s first jackpot pie but the winner and her family have gone into hiding.

The family of 34-year-old Nguyen Thi Anh Dao is said to have fled their home to stay at a local hotel after her colossal win of VND92 billion ($4 million) in last Sunday’s American-style lottery game Mega 6/45.

People started pouring to their modest home in southern city of Tra Vinh, about 130 kilometers to the southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, when they heard the news.

“I heard Ms. Dao said that after claiming the money, she would give out hundreds of charitable gifts to the poor. That’s why I left home very early in the morning with a neighbor and have been waiting for her,” said Kim Thi Ngoc Tam, who brought a baby with her on a two-hour trip from Chau Thanh District in Tien Giang Province.

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People have flocked to the house of Vietnam's first jackpot winner to beg for a cut of $4 million fortune. Photo by Cuu Long

The family has now gone into hiding with local authorities saying that they are staying in a hotel.

Local police and civil defense teams have been put on duty to protect the family from public attention and disturbance. Dozens have been sent to patrol the jackpot winner’s residential cul-de-sac, and some have even been posted right outside the family’s house.

“People have been flocking here in groups since the morning to beg for money. We had to work very hard to disperse the crowd,” said local official Truong Trieu Minh.

The $4-million prize money was transferred to the winner’s bank account two days ago after paying a 10 percent income tax.

The winner’s father, Nguyen Quoc Thai, 58, who attended the ceremony to receive the money on behalf of his daughter, was seen wearing a Halloween mask to hide his identity.

It seems that the winner won’t be loosening her grip on the prize money anytime soon as Dao said she had no plans on how to spend the money yet, except for giving some to charity and that she and her family would continue to earn a living from selling pork.

The family has temporarily closed their stall at the local market to avoid adverse attention from the public.

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Local police and civil defense teams have been working hard to keep public order. Photo by Cuu Long

Dao is the first jackpot winner since Mega 6/45 run by state-run Vietlott launched in Vietnam in July.

Vietlott, or the Vietnam Computerized Lottery One Member Limited Liability Company, signed an exclusive 18-year contract with Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya in January to launch computerized lottery games.

Mega 6/45 is the company’s first foray into the market, and is available to players in Ho Chi Minh City and many southern provinces. Other services will follow.

Mega 6/45 players select six numbers from 1 to 45 to win a jackpot that starts at VND12 billion ($538,000) by matching all six winning numbers from the draw.

The jackpot rolls over until there is a winner. The odds of winning are extremely low, believed to be around one in 8.14 million.

The prize money will start again at VND12 billion for the next draw on Wednesday.

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