Vietnamese police have raided an online gambling operation worth almost $26 million and arrested 10 people along with guns and cash, according to the Quang Nam provincial police’s official website.
The officials reported on Tuesday. The latest big raid in a country where illicit betting flourishes despite strict rules. But the communist government said last year it would ease restrictions on sports betting and allow some Vietnamese to gamble in casinos on a pilot basis, though the new rules have yet to come into effect.
Gambling is unlawful in Vietnam, a one-party state where running online betting rings carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and only foreigners are legally allowed to bet at local casinos.
The raid was carried out by a team of tourist police at a condominium unit on Sukhumvit Soi 77 in the Phra Khanong Nua area of Watthana district. The search warrant for raiding the property was issued by the Bangkok South Criminal Court.
The network spanned several provinces in central and southern Vietnam and was headed by a 37-year-old identified as Huynh Quoc Viet.
The police source told AFP Tuesday from the central province of Quang Nam, “We arrested seven people and three others turned themselves in. The investigation is still ongoing to see if anyone else is involved.”
Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak said the raid followed a tip off that a group of South Koreans had been illegally running a gambling website called Star Casino, with over 10,000 members.
The police also seized records of six bank accounts at Seoul-based Shinhan Bank, nine mobile phones, three laptop computers and five monitors.
Police are now investigating a massive illegal betting ring worth $422 million in the country’s biggest-ever gambling bust involving more than 100 people, including current and former officials.