At the end of last month, police in Vietnam shut down an illegal online gambling ring. Instead of slot machines or sports betting, though, this group focused on forex (foreign exchange) gambling.
Police in Hanoi arrested one man for operating a gambling ring that was worth $90 million and attracted 18,000 accounts. They identified him as Dao Minh Sung, the leader of the outfit, according to local media outlet Thanh Nien. He established three online platforms, SFX Capital, SFX and F.C.I, then hired others to manage them.
The activity came to a halt on May 30 following the raid. As a result, police rounded up 32 people and confiscated five Cadillacs, a Range Rover and other luxury vehicles.
Illegal Forex Trading Comes to a Halt
After creating an account on the SFX Capitals site, gamblers could place wagers on foreign currency movements. SFX Capital offered exchange rates for 16 major forex pairs, including US dollar/euro, pound/US dollar, US dollar/JPY, US dollar/CHF, AUD/US dollar and others.
Gamblers selected the digital or foreign currencies they want to place bets on within a set time. This was usually 30 seconds, or three, five or fifteen minutes. If the bets won, the floor took its cut and paid out the remainder to the bettor. However, if the bets were wrong, the bettors lost it all.
The ring employed a number of agents to entice players and created “expert groups” that would support them. These experts helped players place the bets and “guarantee” they would win within an hour if they followed their instructions.
Online gambling of any form is currently illegal in Vietnam, although that may change. However, even if it were legal, this criminal gang was employing methods to ensure the house always had an unfair advantage.
Land-based casinos exist in the country, but are almost exclusively open to just foreigners. A project that is testing local gambling is underway, with plans to expand the pilot program to more casinos.
Illegal Online Gambling Busts Common
Breaking up illegal online gambling operations in Vietnam is a common occurrence. It helps when the organizers take to social media to advertise their activity, giving police easy targets.
Last October, Hanoi police broke up an online gambling ring online worth at least €1.1 million ($1.18 billion). They initially arrested 17 people for their involvement, following that up with further arrests as the year closed.
The ringleader and his son hosted an online Baccarat platform that they launched in December 2020. The website connected to the server of a legal overseas operator, using the digital currency USDT to make transactions. Later, they recruited gamblers and other members via social media and ran events to solicit financial investment.
Two months later, police in Ho Chi Minh found a similar situation. They arrested four after busting an online gambling ring with a total value of at least $3.8 billion. After checking several locations in the city, they arrested 59 people who were gambling and running the ring.
Investigators found that the organizers were operating gambling activities through the same website as the previous gang, as well as two others. In addition, the ring lured players with tricks like “investment insurance,” which would refund players if they lost a game. Police described it as the “largest gambling ring that has ever been taken down in the city.”
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