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3 arrested for cheating tens of thousands of people in online investment scam in Vietnam

HANOI, Vietnam - Vietnamese police have arrested three people in connection with an online investment scam that allegedly swindled local investors out of some US$10 million, state media reported Saturday.

Vu Thi Thu Hang, 31, and Nguyen Van Dan, 34, both from Saigon City, and Hoang Thi Bay, 42, from northern province of Lang Son, were taken into police custody on Thursday, accused of cheating some 20,000 local investors out of 160 billion dong (US$10 million, ?6.8 million), the English language newspaper Vietnam News said.

Hang claimed that she was the representative of a U.S.-based company which offered interest rates of 70 percent per month for investments placed on the company's several Web sites, it said.

The newspaper quoted police as saying the company did not exist. Police officials were not available for comment Saturday.

The Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper reported that the three suspects had set up a pyramid scheme in which investors were promised lucrative payments for recruiting other people to invest.

Those who bought in to the scheme gave cash to an agent who then gave them online accounts and passwords to access the company's Web site.

Police are widening their investigation to include several rings which conducted similar practices, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Posted on 16 Nov 2007

Human Rights Watch


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