16 Vietnamese soccer bookies, bettors arrested

July 11, 2006

Updated: 2006-07-10 14:28 Sixteen Vietnamese bookmakers and bettors have been detained in the biggest soccer betting ring detected in Vietnam during the World Cup 2006, local newspaper Saigon Liberation reported Monday.The bookmakers, three men from southern Ho Chi Minh City, acted as intermediaries between bookies of an international betting ring and Vietnamese bettors. The 16 people were detained in the city on Sunday when they gave and received money totaling 100,000 U.S. dollars regarding bets on the last two games of the soccer event.

During the World Cup, local gamblers made bets of between thousands and tens of thousands of dollars via the three bookies, including a 35-year-old man named Le Cong Hai.

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.

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