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Disgraced police chiefs implicated in Vietnam's online gambling bust to stand trial in November

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 10:23 GMT+7
Disgraced police chiefs implicated in Vietnam's online gambling bust to stand trial in November
Phan Van Vinh, former general director of the Police General Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Dozens of suspects, including two former top police officials, will stand trial next month for roles in a massive online gambling ring busted in April, a court in the northern province of Phu Tho said Wednesday.

The trial is scheduled to last 20 days starting around November 10, with exact dates expected to be announced in late October, a top Phu Tho People’s Court judge told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Phan Van Vinh, former general director of the General Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the ministry’s Hi-Tech Crimes Department, will be tried for abusing their positions and powers while performing their public duties.

Ninety other suspects will stand trial for charges including gambling, organizing gambling, money laundering, illegal trade of invoices, and asset appropriation via the Internet.

Approximately 70 lawyers have been retained by the defendants, including the two lawyers representing Phan Van Vinh, the Phu Tho court said.

Earlier this week, the People’s Procuracy of Phu Tho said Vinh had been transferred from his detention cell to a provincial hospital for the treatment of a preexisting cardiovascular condition he has had since his time in office.

Prosecutors do not expect the treatment to affect court proceedings related to the case. 

Vinh, 63, and Hoa, 60, are accused of profiting from the ring’s activities.

When the ring was busted in April, Phu Tho police seized assets amounting to more than VND1.34 trillion ($57.36 million).

In total, it is estimated that gamblers and members of the ring had processed transactions worth VND9.7 trillion ($415.13 million) during its run, including $3.6 million in foreign currencies already transferred abroad.

The ring’s profits are estimated to have totaled VND3.45 trillion ($147.71 million).

Forty-three million users signed up for online accounts used for gambling on sites run by the defendants, Phu Tho Police said.

In July, police announced their criminal prosecution against the 92 suspects, including the two policemen and top leaders in telecom and tech companies accused of maintaining websites where illegal gambling activities took place.

In an indictment released in September, prosecutors held that Vinh’s acts had led to serious consequences and badly affected the prestige of the police force, while Hoa was accused of covering up the case.

The two have been stripped off their ranks and titles in the Ministry of Public Security, which administers Vietnam’s police force.

If found guilty, the duo will face prison terms of between five and ten years, in accordance with Vietnamese law.

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Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

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