Police officers have apprehended 71 suspects, including four foreigners, who were caught red-handed gambling inside a hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.
A source close to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper confirmed on Tuesday evening that the municipal Department of Police had raided Lotus Hotel, situated on Cach Mang Thang 8 Street in District 3 in mid-May, and discovered the illegal operation on the ninth floor of the building.
A total of 71 people, including four foreigners, were found gambling via poker and were then escorted to the police station.
Two of the foreigners come from the U.S., the rest from Finland and France.
About VND1 billion (US$44,000) in cash, along with relevant exhibits, was also confiscated.
Officers later initiated legal proceedings against 24 suspects for gambling and 10 others for organizing gambling. The rest were released on bail.
Initial information showed that the gambling ring was operated within a poker club managed by Bridge & Poker Saigon JSC, based in District 1.
Dang Van Quy, 45, is the legal representative of the firm.
|Money and other exhibits found at the gambling ring in this photo supplied by officers|
In accordance with Vietnamese law, poker is considered a sport. In order to start a poker club, a permit must be granted by competent agencies.
Club members are allowed to practice playing poker in a manner similar to other types of sport.
If there is a tournament, organizers must seek permission from authorities and submit all details regarding the competition and its prizes.
Quy and his accessories took advantage of activities within the poker club to organize gambling.
In order to play, gamblers were required to transfer real money into poker chips and pay Quy 10 percent of the amount of cash they wanted to transfer.
The minimum amount was VND2 million ($88).
After four hours, players had to exchange their chips back into money.
If they wanted to continue playing, they would need to make another cash-to-chip exchange and again, pay 10 percent to Quy.
Quy admitted to earning VND30 million ($1,320) to VND50 million ($2,200) from the gambling ring on a daily basis, adding that he started the illicit operation in April.
Further investigation is ongoing.