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Nearly 400 detained in record Vietnam gambling bust

Representative Image. Photograph:( ANI )

AFP Hanoi, Vietnam Jul 28, 2019, 09.23 PM (IST)

More than 380 Chinese nationals were detained during a raid on a gambling ring in Vietnam, state media reported Sunday, in what police claim is the biggest-ever betting operation run by foreigners.

Most forms of gambling are illegal for locals in Vietnam, but the country has in recent years been used as a venue for online betting rings run by gangs from China and Taiwan.

Some 500 police officers in the northern port city of Hai Phong broke up the Chinese-run network in a raid late Saturday on a gated community called Our City where rooms were used to transact online bets worth more than $400 million, state-run Vietnam Television said. 

"This case is considered the biggest ever in terms of scale and the number of foreigners breaking laws on Vietnam's soil," VTV reported.

The 380 Chinese nationals fielded online wagers from Chinese punters on sports betting and ran an illegal lottery, it added.  

According to the report, police also confiscated nearly 2,000 smartphones, 530 computers, bank cards and cash.

Police declined to provide additional details when asked for comment by AFP.

Vietnam's one-party state has started loosening its rules on domestic gambling, allowing its citizens to bet in casinos on a trial basis and opening up some sports betting.

But lucrative illegal operations have mushroomed, prompting a crackdown on domestic gambling rings.

Dozens of people were convicted in Vietnam last year in connection with an online gambling ring run by a senior official in charge of policing internet betting.

Story highlights

Most forms of gambling are illegal for locals in Vietnam, but the country has in recent years been used as a venue for online betting rings run by gangs from China and Taiwan.