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Manhunt underway for nine people involved in gambling ring
The Saigon Times Daily
Friday,  Mar 16, 2018,14:18 (GMT+7)

Manhunt underway for nine people involved in gambling ring

The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – Police in the northern province of Phu Tho are searching for nine individuals allegedly involved in a multi-million-dollar international gambling ring protected by Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the Department for Anti-High-Tech Crimes (C50) under the Ministry of Public Security.

In a notice of the provincial police released on March 15, these individuals are Hoang Ngoc Tu aged 36 in Nam Dinh Province (his hometown), Hoang Thanh Trung (40, Quang Ninh Province), Nguyen Duy Thinh (26, Ha Tinh Province), Nguyen Huy Bach (28, Quang Ninh Province), Pham Tien Cuong (31, Haiphong City), Ta Quang Khoa (30, Vinh Phuc Province), Tran Quang Hanh (31, Nam Dinh Province), Hoang Van Trong (27, Hanoi City) and Le Van Kien (40, Hanoi City).

The police have called for them to turn themselves in, and have asked anyone who knows their whereabouts to report to their nearest police stations, or Phu Tho police as soon as possible.

In a related development, Phu Tho police have recently worked with Lieutenant-General Phan Van Vinh, former head of the General Department of Police under the Ministry of Public Security, to clarify his responsibility relating to this gambling ring.

Investigators of Phu Tho late last week formally pressed charges against Nguyen Thanh Hoa, formerly a major general, for organizing gambles, and detained him for four months for questioning. State President Tran Dai Quang earlier stripped Hoa of his “People’s Police” title.

The provincial police have charged around 80 people and detained 38 of them on alleged charges of organizing gambles, gambling, money laundering and appropriation of assets.

Investigators there late last year filed criminal charges against people involved in the 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 participating. 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.

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 acquire 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.

Phu Tho police have frozen several bank accounts with a total value of VND381 billion (US$16.7 million), and have seized 20 houses worth VND190 billion and 13 cars, according to Phap Luat newspaper.

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