Online gambling site M88.com has been connected to an illegal betting ring and authorities in Vietnam have given heavy sentences to those involved. A Ho Chi Minh City court on Friday sentenced 30 individuals to jail time as well as giving suspended sentences to an additional 14 people who were involved by placing sports wagers with the group.
The alleged ring leader of the betting scheme is Tran Hau Chi who was not in court on Friday and remains a fugitive at large. Tran Long Thanh is his son, who was taken into custody and given the longest sentence, a total of nine years for his role in the illegal betting ring.
One to seven years was given to the junior members of the group, with 10 people earning one to seven years for helping with money movement by using twenty two bank accounts. It was reported that the gang was able to transfer $62m to M88.com during a period of 18 months until members of the group were arrested in 2014. Individuals who used M88 to wager for the gang were given as much as two and a half years in prison with the activity of wagering seeming to be more excessive than the 14 who earned a suspended sentence.
M88 is considered to be the most popular gambling site available for the Vietnamese community and apparently commonly used by individuals for money trafficking. Back in May, the exact same court gave sentences to 59 people who were connected to M88 via a different gang.
Sports betting is illegal in Vietnam but legislators have been trying to consider the option for years in way of a state-run betting option. Back in August, Nguyen Tan Dung, the Prime Minister, decided to instruct the Ministry of Finance to amend the draft legislation to create specific types of wagering options that might be allowed under a state run system.