Vietnam says ex-top police official organized gambling ring

HANOI, Vietnam - The former chief of Vietnam's police department for high-tech crimes has been arrested on suspicion of organizing a multimillion-dollar international gambling ring as the ruling Communist Party pushes an unprecedented crackdown on corruption.

The Ministry of Public Security said on its website the arrest warrant was issued Sunday for Nguyen Thanh Hoa as part of an investigation into gambling and money laundering. Organizing gambling carries a jail sentence of 10 years.

The president stripped Hoa of his "people's police" title earlier Sunday, the ministry said, adding that police were widening their investigations of the gambling case and would punish those involved accordance with the law.

State media said 38 people have been arrested in the gambling case so far and police have seized property and other assets worth $44 million.

Vietnam's unprecedented crackdown on graft previously focused on corruption at the state energy giant PetroVietnam and the banking sector but appears to be spreading to the police force.

Scores of PetroVietnam senior officials and bankers have been brought to trial, the most high-ranking of them being Dinh La Thang, a former Politburo member who was sentenced to 13 years in prison in January for mismanagement dating to his time leading PetroVietnam. He was the first Politburo member to be jailed in decades.

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