Police in Hanoi have broken up an online gambling ring that had attracted approximately six million gamblers and processed transactions totaling VND1.5 trillion (US$65.9 million).
Officers in Nam Tu Liem District confirmed on Sunday they had initiated legal proceedings against 18 suspects for gambling, organizing gambling, and illegally exploiting online information.
Among them, Nguyen Minh Thanh, 32, who resides in Cau Giay District, was identified as the leader of the racket.
Police investigation showed that Thanh was especially passionate about information technology.
He had studied programming for half a year at a local university before dropping out to run his own business.
In late 2019, Thanh noticed a strong interest in online gambling among Internet users, thus he decided to organize a gambling app to earn money.
Thanh bought a game source code, hired Vu Tien Duy, 32, and Bui Nhat Anh, 28, to help him edit the app, and named it ‘Socvip.’
He then hired some other people to run ads on social media platforms in order to attract players.
Tran Duc Cuong, 24, and Pham Trung Thanh, 24, later joined the ring to manage the app on mobile and desktop platforms.
|Cash is confiscated at the suspects’ houses. Photo: Y. Hung / Tuoi Tre|
In early 2020, Thanh’s team put the app into operation and renamed it ‘SumVip’ as well as introduced another similar app called ‘VuaClub.’
Police also discovered about 160 dealers in charge of buying, selling, and exchanging prizes for gamblers.
Thanh claimed his ring earned about VND100 million ($4,400) a month in the beginning, but the revenue quickly increased to nearly VND10 billion ($440,000) monthly.
In order to play the games in SumVip and VuaClub, players had to spend real money buying in-game currency.
Initial statistics showed that the two gambling apps had attracted more than six million players, with total transactions estimated at VND1.5 trillion ($65.9 million).
After searching the suspects’ houses, police confiscated 13 luxurious cars, over VND9.3 billion ($409,100) and $20,000 in cash, three trading contracts of corporate bonds worth about VND5 billion ($220,000), 23 CPUs, 26 monitors, four laptops, and over 20,000 SIM cards.
Officers also blocked multiple bank accounts with about VND10 billion ($440,000) and seized six apartments.