The Ministry of Public Security has wrapped up investigations of several Dong Nai players accused of manipulating the result of a V-League football match last season.
The club’s captain, Pham Huu Phat, got five other players involved in fixing their away match against Than Quang Ninh on July 20, which Dong Nai lost 5-3, investigators alleged.
They have proposed charges of gambling and organizing gambling against Phat. The other five -- Nguyen Thanh Long Giang, Dinh Kien Trung, Nguyen Duc Thien, Ha Niem Tien, and goalkeeper Phan Luu The Son -- face gambling charges.
Tran Van Ba, the bookie that Phat contacted, and four of his accomplices also face charges of organizing gambling.
According to the investigators, Dong Nai was in a safe position in the top-flight V-League and Phat thought about throwing his team’s match against Quang Ninh.
He asked Ba to pay him VND400 million (US$18,536) if Dong Nai lost by at least two goals.
The bookie gave him the money four days before the match, by which time he had got the four players into his nefarious scheme.
Dong Nai trailed 3-1 in the first half before losing 5-3.
The police arrested Ba and his accomplices after the first half ended while Phat and his five teammates were arrested the next day.
The investigators also said Phat, Giang, Trung, and Thien had fixed the result of another match against Thanh Hoa on May 3, 2014, which Dong Nai had lost 3-0.
Phat was paid VND30 million while the other three got VND10 million each, they said.
Gambling is illegal in Vietnam and punishable by jail terms ranging from two to seven years for gambling VND50 million or more.
But despite the ban, gambling on football, the country’s most popular sport, is rampant in Vietnam.
Match-fixing is also rife, with many bookmakers and players being arrested over the years.
On August 25, 2014, Vissai Ninh Binh defender Tran Manh Dung got 30 months in jail for match fixing.
Eight other players from the northern club got suspended sentences for betting on their Asian Football Confederation Cup match against Malaysia’s Kelantan on March 18, 2014.
The Hai Phong bookie who took the bets, Dao Duc Loi, got 30 months in jail.