The police in Vietnam has detained nearly 400 Chinese nationals who were involved in an underground gambling ring. In a raid this weekend, authorities have busted what they call the biggest ever illegal online betting operation in the country.
On Sunday, the state-run Vietnam Television reported that more than 380 people have been arrested during a raid in the northern port city of Hai Phong. All detainees are Chinese nationals and, according to the media, they are accused of operating an illegal betting and gambling ring from over 100 rooms in a gated community in the city, which is approximately 100 kilometers east of Hanoi.
The individuals, aged between 18 and 24, were operating betting websites from within the rooms in the tightly guarded community, which is in an urban area of Hai Phong. In a statement published on its website, the Ministry of Public Security said that the illegal gambling network included multiple online platforms where Chinese people could bet on sports and take part in lotteries.
However, all this is illegal in Vietnam where gambling is allowed only in casinos and for foreigners only. Locals, however, can play the lottery and bet on horse and greyhound races. In fact, most forms of gambling and betting are outlawed in the country but according to the Vietnam Television (VTV), gangs from China and Taiwan have arrived here and have opened multiple gambling dens in the past few years. Underground gambling has since then been thriving despite recent efforts from the government to allow locals into casinos and offer the some sports betting options.
The Illegal Betting Operation Took $436.14 Million in Bets
The illegal betting network, operated from within Hai Phong’s gated community Our City, catered to Chinese online punters who placed bets on various sports and played lotteries on the illegal websites. The Ministry of Public Security explained that the amount of transactions to and from and online platforms is estimated at 3 billion yuan, which is approximately US$436.14 million.
Around 500 police officers took part in the massive raid against the Chinese-led underground gambling ring. During the carefully planned operation, police detained a little more than 380 people and confiscated around 530 computers and 2,000 smartphones. In addition, police officers found a large number of bank cards, as well as cash.
This is the largest ever raid on an illegal gambling ring in the country, the Ministry has said. This is also the biggest bust in terms of the number of foreigners “breaking laws on Vietnam’s soil”, VTV reported. This may be the biggest case of an illegal gambling operation in the country in terms of scale but it is certainly not the first one.
Last year only, Vietnam convicted tens of people who were involved in another illegal online gambling ring. According to investigators, it was run by a senior official who was overseeing the online betting sector, which is still illegal in the country.