Vietnam busts another multi-million dollar online gambling ring

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The 12bet portal allegedly drew thousands of Vietnamese players with bets worth over $26 million.

Vietnam’s cyber crime police announced on Friday they had busted an online gambling ring through the web portal 12bet.

As part of the operation, police in Ho Chi Minh City have arrested and searched houses of Vo Van Nghia, Vo Van Hoa, Do Thi Tu Anh and Phan Thanh Hoang for organizing gambling.

Another four suspects have also been summoned and had their houses searched for gambling. Police seized a total of over VND300 million ($13,000) in cash, multiple computers and phones during the searches.

According to the cyber crime police, the online gambling portal 12bet was launched in 2007 by a foreign company. The site has since attracted thousands of players in Vietnam with a variety of gambling games such as sports betting, online casino and online lottery.

Players joining the site are required to create accounts and pay the operators real money through online banking in return for virtual currency, which they can spend on the gambling games.

Vietnamese police first discovered the ring, which has netted a total of over VND600 billion ($26.25 million) in transactions between the organizers and players, in early 2017.

Police are conducting further investigations.

The busting of this online gambling ring comes just three months after police announced the uncovering of another massive operation run by two major Vietnamese tech businessmen. Investigations into this case have resulted in the arrests of dozens of people, including 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 cyber crime division.

Hoa has been accused of colluding with the ring’s leaders Nguyen Van Duong, board chairman of high-tech security development company CNC and Phan Sao Nam, founder and former board chairman of major online communication firm VTC Online in organizing the ring. Vinh is accused of abusing his power and position to protect the ring, which allegedly attracted bets worth $420 million in around two years.

Reported by Ba Do