2 face charges for running unlicensed online games in Vietnam

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City have proposed local prosecutors charge two men with "doing business illegally" for running unlicensed online games.

According to police findings, Pham The Minh, 37, and Nguyen Thanh Trung, 32, founded the De Vuong Software Company in District 8 in June 2009 to publish online games, including card and chess games, on the website www.ken.vn.

Players were asked to send an SMS to numbers 8788 or 8779 to receive "kens" the currency used in the games. For each message, they would receive six Kcash points each worth VND1,000 (US$0.047) and exchangeable into 100,000 kens.

In December that same year, the duo's business was busted and they were fined VND40 million ($1,884) for operating online games without a license.

Following the bust, only their Chinese chess game was granted license, while the rest were relocated to www.gameken.us, a US-based website, police said.

The website www.ken.vn was used as a place for customers to conduct online transactions with players on the U.S. site.

At that time Minh and Trung also allowed players to place bets on local and international football matches, police added.

In July 2011 they moved the gambling service from the U.S. site to the server of a local company that provided online data, police said, adding at that time that the duo had earned nearly VND1.4 billion from SMS messages sent by players of the unlicensed games on the foreign site.

Later they developed another site, www.giaitritoday.com based out of the US. 

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