Viet-Canadian illegal-football-bettng boss arrested

Vietnam police investigating a high profile corruption case involving government officers in Hanoi have arrested a Canadian who is reputedly the head of an international criminal syndicate. The crime gang called "Long Haul" operates in Canada, Europe and Asia specializing in drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized betting on international football games, police said according to Vietnam-based news sources.

The Canadian was identified as 46-year-old Ngo Tien Dung alias Dung Kieu. The Vietnamese native also uses the names Dung Hanoi and Lai Thanh Huu and reportedly operated out of Vancouver and Toronto. A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Canada told The Asian Pacific Post that the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi is aware of the detention and is providing consular assistance.

Dung, according to a police reports in Hanoi was jailed in the late 1980s in Bac Thai jail for fraud and misappropriating other people’s assets. Seventeen years ago, he allegedly killed another prisoner at the jail and escaped. He then fled to Canada where he led the Long Haul mafia before returning to Vietnam in 1994 posing as a wealthy overseas Vietnamese investor. Vietnamese media said Dung changed his named to Lai Thanh Huu in Canada, obtained citizenship and has traveled to Vietnam at least 35 times as an overseas businessman.

News reports said Dung is "the owner of five villas in Canada, one of which is worth US$7 million" and that he is believed to have laundered US$26 million in Vietnam through business contracts. Major-General Pham Xuan Quac, head of Vietnam’s Department of Investigation of Social Order Crimes, said Dung collected an average pot of over US$1.5 million during every major international football game.

See also: Vietnam moves closer to legalising football betting (27 Apr)