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Former anti-hi-tech crime police chief charged for involvement in huge gambling ring
Tuesday,  Mar 13, 2018,23:33 (GMT+7)

Former anti-hi-tech crime police chief charged for involvement in huge gambling ring


HCMC – Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the Anti-High-Tech Crime Police Department (C50) under the Ministry of Public Security, has been arrested for alleged involvement in an illegal gambling ring with gambling value amounting to thousands of billions of Vietnamese dong.

Hoa’s arrest is the latest twist in a case where police in the northern province of Phu Tho have pressed charges against around 80 people and detained 38 on alleged charges of organizing gambles, gambling, money laundering and appropriation of assets.

In particular, the case involves multiple police officers at C50.

The Ministry of Public Security said on Sunday afternoon that investigators at the Phu Tho Province Police Department had formally charged Nguyen Thanh Hoa with organizing gambles, and detained the major general for four months. Earlier on the same day, the State President signed a decision stripping Hoa of the People’s Police title, according to a news report on the website of Thanh Nien newspaper.

Investigators of Phu Tho Province late last year filed criminal charges against people involved in a case where the Internet was used to appropriate assets, organize gambles, gamble, illegally trade in invoices, and launder money in Phu Tho and some other provinces and cities.

The subsequent probe discovered an extensive online gambling ring with thousands of people at home and abroad involved. The Thanh Nien report said the ring was run by two persons – Phan Sao Nam, former chairman of local online game firm VTC Online, and Nguyen Van Duong, chairman of hi-tech security firm AN CNC Co Ltd – to facilitate Internet gambling. Vietnamese law currently bans all forms of gambling.

With Phan Sao Nam at the helm, VTC Online used to be one of Vietnam’s top three online game firms.

News website Vietnamnet reported on March 12 that in 2012, DWS Vietnam Fund, present-day Vietnam Phoenix Fund, poured US$10 million into VTC Online to own a 19.5% stake. In mid-2010, IDG Ventures Vietnam became a strategic shareholder of VTC Online and now still holds a 9.2% stake. By mid-July 2017, VTC Online had three major shareholders – VTC, Prime Limited and IDG Ventures Vietnam with a combined stake of over 71%.

Nguyen Thanh Hoa, instead of taking people involved in the case to justice, allegedly protected the ring. This explains why he and many other police officers at C50 were suspended in late 2017 for investigation.

Thanh Nien quoted a source as saying that other officials who held higher positions might be implicated in the case.

On Sunday, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong chaired a meeting of the Secretariat to listen to a report on the case. The Secretariat said this was a serious, complicated and sensitive hi-tech criminal case as it involved some policemen and was of public interest.

Therefore, the Secretariat told the Ministry of Public Security to proactively direct their units and the Phu Tho police to start criminal proceedings and report to the Secretariat. Those officials involved in the case must be punished in line with prevailing regulations, said the Secretariat.

At a conference on the performance of the steering committee for the national crime prevention program last year, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said the Phu Tho police had busted the gambling ring in which US$3.6 million was illegally transferred abroad. The police also detained around VND1 trillion worth of assets in the case.

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