The Vietnam Golf Association has issued an announcement on the suspension of a golf tournament, which was set to take place at Heron Lake Golf Course in Vinh Phuc Province, northern Vietnam, from March 23 to 25, following a sting which caught 22 participating golfers gambling.
The announcement was sent to teams taking part in the VGA Union Cup 2023 golf tournament by the deputy secretary general of the association on Thursday.
The golf tournament will be rescheduled for a future date, said the association.
Sixteen golfers from two teams were originally scheduled to play eight matches in the tournament.
Most of these golfers are entrepreneurs from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other localities.
The Criminal Police Department on Monday teamed up with the Vinh Phuc Province police department to carry out a sting on a five-star hotel in Vinh Yen City where 22 of the tournament’s participating golfers were caught gambling and playing poker.
Police involved in the investigation said five of the individuals were identified as ringleaders.
During the sting, police seized over 4.6 million tokens worth more than VND4.6 billion (US$196,400), as well as a slew of other evidence.
Tran Anh Linh, director of Tran Le Gia Company in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Binh District, was identified as the primary leader of the gambling ring.
Linh is a member of the tournament’s southern golf team.
Among the 22 arrested golfers was Le Hung Nam, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Golf Association. Nam was once the owner of a famous restaurant chain.
On March 20, Linh and a group of golfers planned to spend the night at DIC STAR Hotel in Khai Quang Ward, Vinh Yen City before their matches.
However, that evening, the group organized a poker game, which is against Vietnamese law. They also employed several female dealers.
Investigators are currently preparing relevant documents to launch criminal proceedings against the individuals implicated in the sting.
Heron Lake Golf Course not permitted to organize golf tournament
No competent agencies in Vinh Phuc Province have issued licenses to Heron Lake Golf Course and Resort Company to organize a golf tournament, reported Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Earlier on March 7, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism wrote to the Vietnam Golf Association announcing that Heron Lake Golf Course failed to meet the necessary requirements to host a golf tournament.
The provincial department also said that the firm had yet to complete several procedures and lacked multiple documents to apply for a license for golf operations.
“As such, Heron Lake Golf Course holding a golf tournament without a license or certificate for its operation is against prevailing regulations,” noted a dispatch from the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The department also noted that it plans to take action if Heron Lake chooses to reorganize the golf tournament without first receiving approval.
“Since the department sent the dispatch to the firm on March 7, it has put forward no proposals, so we thought that the firm would not hold the tournament.
"If the firm still organizes the tournament, we will launch an inspection,” the department stressed.
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