Senior cop held over gambling ring

Hanoi: Vietnam has arrested a senior police official in charge of tackling illegal online betting after he was accused of having links to a gambling ring in the communist nation.

The now-former chief of the “high-technology department” at the powerful Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is the most senior police official to be targeted amid a sweeping crackdown on rampant corruption.

Major General Nguyen Thanh Hoa, 60, was arrested on Sunday in a Hanoi hospital, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

He is being investigated for “organising gambling” in northern Phu Tho province, MPS said in a statement on Sunday.

Hoa has also been stripped of his police title by Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang, the former head of MPS, the statement added.

The government website said other police may have participated in the ring, which state media said was part of an international network involving millions of dollars.

Hoa’s department of “high technology” is in charge of tackling illegal activity online, including fraud and illegal betting.

He gained notoriety busting illicit online gambling, including in 2012 when he shut down hundreds of websites and IP addresses linked to illegal football betting.

Gambling is considered a social vice in Vietnam and most betting is illegal for locals. — AFP