On Wednesday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that South Korean police were heralding the speedy extradition of the seven-member gang, who were caught running an illegal online sports betting ring in Hanoi.
Acting on a tip, South Korea’s National Police Agency alerted their Vietnamese counterparts to the existence of the ring, which is believed to have handled wagers totaling KRW 10b (US $8.2m). Vietnamese police pounced, arresting all seven members and seizing computers, cell phones and betting records.
The two countries recently agreed to cooperate more fully on such investigations and this bust represents the first test of the new partnership. An NPA official couldn’t have been happier, noting that an extradition process that used to take over a month was accomplished in just two days.
Meanwhile, another group of South Koreans is reportedly plying their online gambling trade from a base in the Philippines. Erwin Tulfo, a local journalist with a weakness for the sensational, recently dedicated yet another column to the country’s gambling industry, including allegations of Korean ‘yakuza’ operating an online casino from an office tower in Pasig City, just outside Manila.
Tulfo claims the Korean-run online casino rakes in “a million pesos a day” despite lacking an online gambling license issued by the First Cagayan regulatory authority. Tulfo goes on to cite a “very reliable source” who claims these Yakuza – allegedly led by one Jeung Myong Su – pay “very hefty protection money” to Pasig officials and police to ensure the operation continues without interference.
South Korean online gambling operators have been known to set up in many Asian countries, including the Philippines, from which a major online suspect was extradited earlier this month. Thailand, in particular, has been overrun with South Korean operators seeking to avoid harsh domestic punishments for online gambling.