Sunday July 1, 2012 : MAJOR FOOTBALL BETTING RING BUST IN VIETNAM
7 arrested for facilitating bets on Euro 2012 football tourney
Football-mad Vietnamese fans bet large amounts of money on the Euro 2012 football tourney currently nearing completion in Ukraine, a police spokesman revealed this week in announcing the successful break up of a major online gambling ring.
In a series of police raids, the authorities arrested seven people, seizing six luxury cars, large amounts of cash and high value credit cards, lap-tops, guns and other weapons in what they claimed was the biggest gambling bust so far during the Euro 2012 football tournament.
Colonel Ho Sy Tien, head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Police, said the department coordinated with the Cyber Crime department and police in Hanoi and nearby Bac Ninh Province, to shut down the ring.
The alleged leader, Pham Van Cuong (33) was arrested along with six other members for gambling and possessing illegal weapons, the police said.
Police claim that Cuong also acted as a loan shark, preying on punters, and then sending armed thugs to collect overdue debts.
Investigations are continuing as police follow up on leads that suggest that the ring may have been part of a larger overseas-controlled criminal enterprise, with large amounts of money flowing in and out of the country.
The raid was the latest in a an online gambling crackdown on football betting; last week police in the Dong Thap province arrested 26 people in raids.
At a conference last week, Colonel Nguyen Thanh Hoa, head of the Vietnam police cyber crime department, said football gambling is getting more “high-tech,” with around 30 new websites cropping up each day, making the situation harder for police to control.
More than 180 internet gambling sites have been shut down in Vietnam since June 5 as part of the ministry’s effort to curb gambling during the Euro 2012 football tournament.
However, punters continue to find ways to place bets online, often through social networking sites and chat rooms, IT experts said.