November 30, 2018 / 9:34 AM / in 19 days

Vietnam jails senior police for running online gambling ring

FILE PHOTO - Lieutenant General Phan Van Vinh, chief of the General Department of Police, is seen during the National Congress of Vietnam's ruling Communist Party in Hanoi, Vietnam, January 25, 2016. Picture taken on January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI (Reuters) - A Vietnamese court on Friday jailed two senior police officials found guilty of running an underground online gambling ring which raised millions of dollars, state media said.

Phan Van Vinh, former head of the Police General Department, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former head of the high-tech crime police department, were jailed for nine and 10 years, respectively.

Both were convicted of “abusing power in performance of official duties”, the online newspapers VnExpress and Zing News said.

Officials and state media in the communist-ruled country often denounce gambling as a “social evil” but it is widespread. Police shut down dozens of gambling rings annually.

“I will have to say sorry for the rest of my life because the consequence of the case is so serious,” Vinh told the court last week, according to the ministry statement.

State media reports said that Vinh was taken to hospital on Friday suffering from high blood pressure and wasn’t at the court to hear the sentencing.

Last year, Vietnam said it would allow some citizens to gamble at selected casinos, in a move aimed at boosting domestic tourism and raising state revenue.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Nick Macfie

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