Vietnam gamblers arrested for backing Asian Cup

Police in Vietnam have arrested four men for taking around US$30,000 in bets on the AFC Asian Cup 2007 matches which commenced on 7 July. Police in Ho Chi Minh City detained four men aged between 41 and 46 on charges of organised gambling on 9 July, the An Ninh Thu Do newspaper reported via Soccer Investor.

This news contradicts speculation that South East Asian punters were unlikely to focus on the Asian-continental tournament co-hosted by Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. According to police officials in Thailand quoted by AFP in June, there would not be any big illegal betting on the Asian Cup. as "Thais are fond of the English Premier League, Italy's Serie A or even the Spanish La Liga rather than Asian football. They know players and figures of those teams, rather than teams of this tournament,"

Some of Asia’s biggest betters are in China where underground rings are rife. In 2005, a man was jailed for 30 months in a illegal football gambling case involving more than US$75 million. Police said heavy betting was expected on the Asian Cup, much of it via the Internet, but refused to disclose details of their anti-gambling plans.