At 18.30 yesterday, Police arrested U-23 striker Pham Van Quyen and halfback Le Quoc Vuong for gambling and organized gambling in an SEA Games match fixing case.
After one week answering investigators’ questions, Van Quyen has admitted that he enticed other U-23 players to fix SEA matches in the Philippines. Tai Em and others on the team declared under questioning that Quyen persuaded them to participate in the ring, charges that he denies. Quyen and Vuong are the first officially held in the scandal.
Previously, Van Truong and Hai Lam declared to police that they were enticed by Quyen to fix the matches, but Quyen still denied any collusion. However, as important details came out under questioning, Quyen relented.
Also in the case, police have found the two women who passed an envelope of money to Quyen in an HCM City taxi. The VND23mil in the envelope, investigators charge, was Quyen’s payment for rigging the match.
Thus far, Van Quyen, Quoc Vuong and Van Truong admitted that they enticed other players on U-23 to first rig the match with Myanmar. Van Quyen and Quoc Vuong played the role of instigators. ‘Reward’ for each player was reportedly only VND30mil (US$2,000) each.
After their first success, Van Quyen, Quoc Vuong, Van Truong, Bat Hieu and Hai Lam went for another, of much higher value, Malaysia, for which they would receive at least VND1.3bil ($81,250). Investigators discovered the plan after cracking a betting ring Vinh City.
Tai Em, Tan Tai, Quoc Anh and Phuoc Vinh are named in that case.
Halfback Huynh Quoc Anh is now also under police questioning for a second time. Meanwhile, Le Van Truong, Le Bat Hieu and Tran Hai Lam are still free on bail but may be recalled.
A former player of Song Lam Nghe An Club, Nguyen Phi Hung, is suspected of acing as a go-between for U-23 players and betting rings. Investigators have sought Hung in central Nghe An Province, but he has apparently been in hiding since players were first summoned by police. Investigators believe he has gone abroad or is hiding in Hanoi.