HANOI: As 155 defendants were read their charges yesterday, on the fifth day of Vietnam's biggest ever organised crime trial, passers-by laid bets on various aspects of the trial, state-run media said.
People were betting on how long the various stages of the trial would last and whether three disgraced high-ranking officials would be sentenced to death or receive life sentences, the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.
Troung Van Cam, 55, is in the dock accused of heading a far-reaching and lucrative criminal organisation. He faces seven charges including murder and organising illegal betting.
Authorities allege that prior to his arrest, Van Cam (aka Nam Cam) was making US$2mil (RM7.6mil) per month, and had links with the very highest level of the communist government.
More than 20 officials and police – including three disgraced high-ranking government officials – are now facing charges alongside Nam Cam in the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City.
Official photographs of the defendants have not been released, so enterprising photographers with telescopic lenses are taking pictures of defendants as they arrive and leave, the newspaper said.
The gamblers were also betting on the registration numbers of police vehicles and how many defendants the vehicles contained, the newspaper said.
Those placing bets were not afraid of being arrested for illegal gambling because all the bets were made by word of mouth, and police could not prove they were gambling, the newspaper said. – dpa
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