16 Vietnamese soccer bookies arrested

July 5, 2006

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Vietnamese police have arrested 16 bookmakers and intermediaries between bookies and bettors in two separate soccer betting rings, local media reported Tuesday.

The police on Monday detained the boss and 11 intermediaries in a ring operating in some northern localities, including Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Lao Cai and Yen Bai, with daily revenue of 3-5 billion Vietnamese dong (VND) (188.7 million to 314.5 million U.S. dollars) , said newspaper Youth.

The inter-provincial ring is led by a 38-year-old local man named Tran Chau Phong from Hanoi, the capital.

Last weekend, four local people from southern Ho Chi Minh City, including a man named Tran Duy Nghia, his son and Nghia’s brother- in-law, were detained for organizing soccer betting. Nghia opened a bank account of 100,000 dollars to serve betting transactions via the Internet.

For each World Cup soccer match, the four people received bets worth over 100 million VND (nearly 6,300 dollars) from local bettors.

Gambling, especially in the forms of soccer betting and card playing, is widespread in Vietnam, although all kinds of it, except for casinos designated for foreigners and overseas Vietnamese, are illegal in the country.

In Vietnam, where many people are passionate for both soccer and betting, dozens of local bettors and bookmakers were detained during major national and international soccer tournaments.

Source: Xinhua

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