Vietnam punters cleaning up

Vietnamese police have stated that they believe 2006 has been the "cleanest" year yet for the country's scandal-plagued soccer league due to their continued efforts to stop match fixing.

    The "clean hands" campaign, which was launched by local police a year ago, has seen them bust 334 cases of illegal gambling.

    The operation has seen 1,554 arrests across the country according to the Thanh Nien Daily, while cash and assets worth $219,000 have been seized including 160 motorcycles, 13 cars, 382 mobile phones and 54 computers.

    Despite police claims of a "clean" year, they have also admitted several cases of alleged match-fixing were still under investigation.

    Vietnam’s most popular sport has been tainted by a number of match-fixing scandals, the most high profile being at last year's Southeast Asian Games in Manila.

    Eight current and former national team members have been charged after ensuring Vietnam beat Myanmar 1-0 in return for $31,000 each.

    The alleged ringleader and former player Ly Quoc Ky is reportedly on the run from police. 

    Despite gambling being illegal in Vietnam it is seen as an enormous phenomenon and the government has announced this week that it may legalise betting on football by the middle of next year.

    A number of foreign bookmakers have already expressed an interest in launching operations in Vietnam given the nation's unbridled enthusiasm for gambling.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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