Vietnam Police Make 380 Arrests in $435m Illegal Gambling Operation

  • Illegal online gambling network found to be targeting residents of mainland China
  • Operation based in an upmarket urban area of Vietnam's Hai Phong City
  • Case saw largest amount of gambling and online betting ever discovered in Vietnam
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Police in Vietnam arrested over 380 Chinese nationals for their operation of a $435m illegal online gambling network.

Details of this investigation

Vietnamese police arrested more than 380 Chinese nationals for allegedly operating an illegal gambling network. The operation was mainly focused around Hai Phong, a major port city in the country. It involved the running of online gambling platforms from 100 different rooms in an urban section of Hai Phong City.

There were more than $435m worth of transactions processed by this group as part of their activities.

Police conducted raids on many different premises. In their searches, they found numerous devices used to operate online gambling platforms. These included almost 2,000 smartphones, 533 laptops, ATMs, and cash. According to the investigation team, there were more than $435m worth of transactions processed by this group as part of their activities.

Speaking about this new breed of illegal organizations, the authorities in Vietnam said it entailed a complex system of operation using cyberspace. The activities were being carried out under the guise of foreign investment companies in Vietnam. The authorities also remarked that:

This case also involves the largest number of foreigners and the largest amount of gambling and online betting ever discovered in Vietnam.”

The urban area in which the raids took place is home to premium villas, apartments, and five-star hotels.

Gambling in Vietnam

Most forms of gambling are illegal in Vietnam. Foreign visitors are able to gamble in the local commercial casinos.

Locals are allowed to gamble at casino facilities under a trial scheme if they meet certain thresholds. These thresholds mainly consider income metrics to ensure that local gamblers can afford the activity by earning a certain amount each month.

There are currently eight different casinos in Vietnam, with three more under development.

Crackdown on illegal operations

Numerous illegal operations were shut down in recent times. November 2018 saw the authorities clamp down on an online gambling operation which was dealing with millions of dollars’ worth of transactions. Two senior law enforcement officials were jailed as part of the investigation.

Over 500 police officers took part in the most recent raids. It is believed that the main targets of these operations were gamblers in mainland China, rather than Vietnamese players.

Online gambling is not a legal activity in either of these nations. Those Chinese nationals under arrest following the recent crackdown are likely going to be met with deportation. When they return to their home country, they may face prosecution.