On December 24, 2006, the Investigation Group for the Social Criminals under the Ministry of the Public Security collaborated with the Ho Chi Minh City’s Investigation Group to conduct a surprise inspection of 14 known soccer betting shops across the city. On the same day, the police arrested 19 suspected criminals who were operating an illegal betting ring and confiscated 2.1 billion VND and $355,000 in total cash, as well as Internet capable personal computers and cellular phones, which were used for betting on soccer and other sports.
This incident is considered to be the largest football betting scandal that was discovered in Ho Chi Minh City with bets by patrons reaching as much as $10,000 for each soccer match, especially the international ones. After months of surveillance and investigation, the authorities uncovered the secretive betting ring that was recorded in HCM City, mainly because of its sheer size and sophistication regarding its operation and the organization, like conducting their gambling business on the Internet and via cellphones, especially that Christmas Eve.
Around 7:00 p.m., the authorities raided the hide out and arrested Ma Kim Phong, aged 54, the ringleader at his residence on 277 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Phu Nhuan district. At the same time, another investigation team captured Nguyen Thuc Hai and Pham Ngoc Hung who had been closely in cahoots with Phong to organize international gambling at 75/7 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh thanh district. At the crime scene, when the police officers announced that they were conducting a surprise raid, the 3 suspects immediately rushed to their personal computers to delete all of their data in the hopes of avoiding implication, but their efforts were in vain.
Many of the accomplices, who go to the residence of Hung, were also arrested. The investigation also showed the gamblers were well equipped, not only with PCs, but with laptops as well, so that they could conduct their operations any time, any place. All of the data was strictly coded by the operators and the network systems that they used were also expertly handled by an accomplice of the group who is an I.T. graduate, Quach Su Ky.
According to a well-informed source, the betting ring is only a branch of a chain of international soccer betting rings conducting business with bookmakers in any part of the world and receiving payment for their illegal services. The police are further investigating the matter.