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Police bust two multimillion-dollar online gambling rings

By Pham Du   May 23, 2019 | 06:15 pm PT
Police bust two multimillion-dollar online gambling rings
A gambling site run by a ring in the northern Hai Duong Province.
More than 30 people have been arrested or are being questioned in Vietnam for allegedly running two online gambling rings or betting through them.

Police in the northern province of Hung Yen said on Thursday they have taken in 19 people.

The ring had 113 bookmakers in many provinces who had accepted bets worth over VND2 trillion ($86 million).

Pham Cong Bang, 29, one of the arrested people, has been identified as the leader who, along with three accomplices aged 20-31, operated the ring from a rented house in the neighboring Thai Binh Province.

According to the police, the suspects opened accounts with foreign gambling websites and served as agents for them in Vietnam. Vietnamese gamblers used virtual money to play and converted any winnings into real money.

The police have arrested many of the ring's members since January and have frozen many of the gang’s bank accounts.

In another announcement also made on Thursday, police in the neighboring province of Hai Duong said they are investigating 16 people for "gambling" and "organizing gambling."

They are allegedly involved with another online gambling ring and have accepted bets worth trillions of dong (VND1 trillion = $43 million).

Using software provided by the suspects, their clients gambled online playing a number of dice and card games using virtual points, the police said. These points had to be bought using real money and could be converted back into cash.

Vietnamese authorities have relaxed their stance on gambling as a "social evil," legalizing sports betting in 2017 and allowing people aged over 21 with a monthly income of at least VND10 million ($445) to play in a casino in the southern Phu Quoc Island.

But online betting remains illegal.

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