Vietnam police arrest 26 from online football gambling ring

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Vietnamese police have arrested 26 suspects for allegedly orchestrating a football gambling ring based in the Mekong Delta Province of Dong Thap.

Le Van Lung, 37, the group's alleged ringleader, was arrested at a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 7 along with three other members of the ring.

Police seized more than VND800 million (US$38,500) and US$1.400 in cash at Lung's house, along with computers, fax machines, and documents before arresting 22 alleged accomplices throughout the delta.

Police say that Lung studied several football gambling websites before launching his own in mid-2006 and has allegedly confessed to using his wife Nguyen Tu Trinh and his 23-year-old nephew Le Anh Tuan handle the accounting and collections.

Police say Lung and his accomplices regularly shifted locations, staying at hotels and managing the ring over the Internet and mobile phones.

Lung said the bets ranged between several million dong to VND100 million (US$4,800). Lung allegedly earned around VND50-70 million every day.

But the police say the ring's profits were much larger.

A VND4 billion ($1.9 million) car was among the assets seized from Lung during their raids.

Police said local government officials had borrowed the car on several occasions, and Lung always left cash in the car for them to use.

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The ministry is investigating the gambling further.

At a conference last week, Colonel Nguyen Thanh Hoa, head of the ministry's cyber crime department said football gambling is getting more "high-tech" --around 30 new websites opening every day-- and the police are finding it harder to control.

More than 180 gambling sites have been shut down in Vietnam, since June 5, during the ministry's Euro 2012 crackdowns.

But IT experts from several network providers said that gamblers continue to find ways to place bets online, often through chatrooms and social networking sites.

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