Police investigators have arrested an important member in the country’s biggest online football gambling ring busted last week, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Tuesday.
The report quoted the Ministry of Public Security as saying that Tran Long Thanh, 26, was alleged of opening bank accounts for gamblers and transferring money between them and leading operators overseas or local bookmakers
The syndicate allegedly processed more than VND1.5 trillion (US$70 million) in bets.
Police also seized documents, computers and hard drives serving the gambling activities at Thanh's houses around Ho Chi Minh City, the paper said.
Four of the bookmakers, Tran Quoc Khoi, 66, Dip Mot Sang, 52, Nguyen Thi Thu, 38 and her sister Nguyen Thuy Trang, 26, were arrested in the city last week, ahead of the World Cup quarterfinals.
The police are hunting for more at large.
They’ve tracked many local bets placed on the Philippines-hosted gambling website M88.com since the beginning of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Police say M88.com quickly became the biggest betting website in Vietnam with agents in almost every city and province.
Thousands of local gamblers on the website have been identified, including officials at government agencies and business investors.
Vietnamese police often launch national crack downs on illegal betting during major sporting events like the World Cup and the European Cup.
The Ministry of Public Security’s Hi-tech Criminal Investigation Department is working with police departments nationwide to complete their investigation.
Officers from the department have also issued a warning on M88.com that gambling is illegal under Vietnam’s Penal Code. Those found guilty of running gambling rings on a large scale can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Vietnam’s prosecutors last month filed organized gambling charges against 59 people, including one former bank employee and several wealthy businesspeople, for hooking up with the website in the first place in 2010.