At least six people were arrested during a raid organized by the Ministry of Public Security on an online football betting racket in Ho Chi Minh City, the day before the World Cup quarterfinals.
Thousands of gamblers had placed bets with the syndicate, which was caught holding more than VND1.5 trillion (US$70 million), police said on Thursday.
The arrestees included Tran Quoc Khoi, Dip Mot Sang, Nguyen Thuy Trang, Nguyen Thi Thu, Huynh Cao Hoach and Phan Thanh Tam, all HCMC locals.
The suspects were reportedly arrested in Tan Phu and Go Vap Districts as well as districts four and ten.
Police say they seized 11 ATM cards, seven cell phones containing texts related to gambling, $1,100 in cash, 4 taels of gold and numerous gambling receipts.
Police say they've tracked illegal bets placed on M88.com since the beginning of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
They found that gamblers created an account on M88.com and transferred money to bookmakers abroad through a number of local intermediaries--some of whom were arrested on Thursday.
Police say M88.com quickly became the biggest betting website in Vietnam with agents in almost every city and province.
The Ministry of Public Security’s Hi-tech Criminal Investigation Department is working with police departments nationwide to complete their investigation. The agency issued a warning on M88.com that gambling is illegal under the Penal Code.
During major international sporting events like the World Cup and the Euro Cup, Vietnamese police often launch national crack downs on illegal betting.
The same day as the multi-million dollar bust, Hanoi police announced the arrest of ten people for organized gambling, Lao Dong newspaper reported.
Police said Pham Quoc Tuan registered an account and deposited $15,000 on bongda88.com.
He divided his account into many sub-accounts and enlisted others to use funds from the account to manage bets.
Tuan confessed to setting up the account in April and claimed to have made VND8 billion.