Vietnamese authorities have broken up an illegal online sports betting ring they claim handled wagers worth nearly $58m.
On Sunday, police in the central province of Thanh Hóa pounced on the operation, arresting 14 individuals, including the two alleged ringleaders, Nguyễn Thế Hiếu and Nguyễn Thành Trung. The ring, which primarily took wagers on football matches, reportedly handled bets totaling VND 1.3t (US $57.8m) before their jig was up.
Six months earlier, Thanh Hóa police rumbled an illegal betting ring that handled $44.5m in wagers. Both busts pale in comparison to the estimated $60b that was wagered with an online site run by a Chinese national who earlier this week was deported to his home country to face the music.
Meanwhile, police in South Korea recently busted an online sports betting ring in Seoul that utilized a fake office in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City to help process financial transactions. Seoul police arrested three individuals last week while Vietnamese authorities are reportedly still searching for their accomplices in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Vietnam News Agency reported that the ring had established fake offices in nightclubs in both Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City. The ring handled an estimated $5m in wagers from about 1,000 customers before the whip came down.
The ring’s customers were reportedly asked to transmit their funds to the Ho Chi Minh City office via an unspecified online banking service, after which the funds would be funneled to the South Korean office.
Online betting is illegal in both South Korea and Vietnam. South Korean betting operators have routinely established bases of operation in numerous Asian countries, including Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. The latter country has become sufficiently used to busting South Korean betting operators that the two countries recently established a new streamlined extradition process to reduce the paperwork backlog.