HANOI (AFP) – Vietnamese police have smashed a massive online card ring with revenues estimated at USD2.6 billion, the biggest ever bust of its kind in a country where most gambling is banned but remains rampant.
The site No Hu – roughly translated as ‘break the jar’ in English – is wildly popular in Vietnam, with a public fixated by gambling joining on smart phones or desktops.
Players buy credit from agents who pay out in cash if they win, or give loans to punters on a losing streak against collateral like motorbikes and other assets.
There are hundreds of No Hu agents across Hanoi, the capital of the tightly-controlled Communist country, according to a report yesterday detailing the bust in the official newspaper of the city’s police force.
Millions of accounts were created for the game and “transactions ran to USD110 million a month,” the An Ninh Thu Do or Capital Security Newspaper said.
The gambling site, which started in 2018, ran several games soaking up money “on an extremely huge scale… (with) a total value estimated at USD2.6 billion,” the report added.
Sixteen Vietnamese people were arrested in raids, while dozens of mobile phones, ATM cards and SIM cards were also seized.
The report did not say what has happened to the huge sums of money made by the site, which was deactivated yesterday.