The leader and several members of an organized criminal organization in Vietnam were taken into custody by the Department of Criminal Police shortly after disembarking a flight from Phu Quoc to Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday evening, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
The police unit confirmed on Thursday that Lam Thanh Vu, aka Vu Bong Hong (Vu ‘Rose’), and several of his associates were currently being held while an investigation is carried out into the group’s alleged loan sharking, gambling, unlawful debt collection, and protection rackets.
Activities of the crime ring were first discovered by law enforcement official in both Thu Duc District and District 9 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The gang is also suspected of collecting bets made on football matches and cockfights on several websites, including Bong88.com and agl.30k30k.net, a violation of the country’s strict gambling laws.
Acting on a tipoff that Vu and his men were planning to leave Phu Quoc Island, where they run a protection racket, and head to Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, law enforcements camped out at Tan Son Nhat Airport and awaited their arrival.
That night, law enforcement also raided 14 illegal gambling halls facilities under the protection of Vu’s men in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Kien Giang.
Police also seized many computers, smartphones, documents related to the illegal gambling racket, three cars, and nearly VND800 million ($34,460) in cash.
Vu denied his involvement in any crimes and refused to give law enforcement the passwords to the confiscated computers and smartphones.
However, his confidants confessed to gambling, loan sharking, and illegal debt collection.
Police plan to expand their investigation into Vu’s organization.