Checkmate: Vietnamese official arrested in sting

TN News

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Police in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang arrested a senior transport official Friday for gambling giant sums of money on Chinese chess.

Nguyen Thanh Leo, deputy chief of the provincial Transport Department, reported to police on Thursday that he and his family were in jeopardy for failing to pay gambling debts.

Leo and Tran Van Tan, director of a driver's training center in Soc Trang, had been betting on chess matches at local coffee shops for several months.

They initially bet several millions of dong, but gradually raised the stakes, which grew recently to VND1-5 billion (US$47,500-237,000)per match.

When Leo's debts reached VND22 billion, he sold his properties and borrowed money from acquaintances, but was only able to raise VND5 billion.

Tan repeatedly pressed Leo to pay the VND17-billion difference without success.

He hired a notorious gangster to visit Leo at his house, threatening to kill Leo and his family.

On Thursday, Leo reported it to the provincial police, asking for protection for him and his family.

Police organized a sting operation, in which Leo lured Tan to a coffee shop to gamble on chess yet again, but this time officers stormed the shop, catching the two "red-handed."

The case is being investigated further.

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