Vietnam frees Singaporean convicted of running gambling ring

By Hai Duyen   March 13, 2017 | 10:41 pm GMT+7
Vietnam frees Singaporean convicted of running gambling ring
Singaporean national Wong Boon Leong and his Vietnamese accomplices in the dock on Monday in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress

The man walks free after paying the fine and returned all the money gained from his illegal Vietnam business.

A court in southern Vietnam has freed a Singaporean man after finding him guilty of running an illegal online gambling network in the country after the convicted has paid the fine and returned all the cash earned from the business.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Monday sentenced Wong Boon Leong, 38, to 14 months and 24 days in jail, the time which he had spent in detention since his arrest in late 2015, and released him after the trial. Other Vietnamese accomplices were handed jail terms of up to two years.

The Singaporean mastermind was fined VND100 million ($4,390) for his offense, while his family has returned VND500 million he had raked in from his illegal operation.

In December 2014, the online gambling site Dafabet based in the Philippines sent Leong to Vietnam to organize an online gambling network in the country, according to Vietnamese police.

He had cooperated with a Vietnamese couple, Nguyen Thi Kim Cuc, 31, and Nguyen Van Nam, 35, to run the gambling ring. They were all arrested in late 2015.

Cuc, Nam and their other 61 accomplices got up to two-year imprisonment.

Vietnam considers gambling one of three major "social evils" along with general crime and prostitution.

The Vietnamese government has long banned locals from gambling in casinos, despite their popularity among foreigners and hot demand from Vietnamese.

The government, however, said in January it would allow citizens over 21 years old with a monthly income of at least 10 million dong ($445) to hedge bets in local casinos from mid-March under a three-year pilot program. Vietnam's average annual income was around $2,200 last year.

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