Cops ask Vietnamese banks to help fight crime

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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A photo provided by police shows data, devices and weapons police seized from an online gambling operation in Ho Chi Minh City A photo provided by police shows data, devices and weapons police seized from an online gambling operation in Ho Chi Minh City

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A Ministry of Public Security official have asked banks need to do a better job of alerting police to potential criminal activity.
Lieutenant General Tran Trong Luong, deputy head of the ministry’s Criminal Division, told a conference on August 22 that their investigators are constantly challenged by banks’ reluctance to provide details about suspicious transactions.
Luong was speaking at a review of gambling raids conducted during this year's World Cup season, when an estimated tens of millions of dollars in online bets changed hands every day.
A government resolution issued on April 7 required banks to assist the ministry's investigations of high-tech crimes, but most banks (citing old regulations) have continued to only divulge financial information pertaining to suspects who have already been officially placed under criminal investigation.
Luong said the lack of cooperation from banks has provided ample loopholes for criminals to exploit.
“Only ten dubious transactions have been reported to the police since September of last year. That number is too small. Banks need to do a better job helping root out criminal activity.”
During the international soccer championship in Brazil, police shut down 63 large-scale websites operated by 13 gambling rings, most of which were based overseas.
Officers said the rings recruited Vietnamese to set up local networks and lured players by allowing them to play on credit.
Many gamblers weren't required to put any money or collateral down on their wagers but those who failed to pay what they owed were hassled by members of the gangs who intimidated and even kidnapped their victims. Some big losers were forced to sell their homes to cover their debts, they said.
As an example, Major-General Ho Si Tien, head of the ministry’s Social Crimes Division, said several people from Ho Chi Minh City set up the forum pro186.com which served as a front for an online gambling site.
The forum drew nearly 15,000 players and the organizers who earned the organization thousands of dollars a week, Tien said.

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