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Investigators unveil new details of Apricot Association swindle

Update: January, 23/2014 - 09:06
Earlier in September last year, the ministry arrested Nguyen Thanh Chon for falsely claiming possession of a multi-billion dollar treasure under the umbrella of the Apricot Society, a fake organisation set up in Viet Nam and abroad.— Photo giadinh

HA NOI (VNS)— The Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday revealed new developments in the investigation regarding a case of fraud involving the Hoa Mai Hoi (Apricot Flower Association) last year.

According to the investigators, the suspects working under the Apricot Association had used different names to appropriate assets, persuading people to contribute money to fund excavations.

Earlier in September last year, the ministry arrested Nguyen Thanh Chon for falsely claiming possession of a multi-billion dollar treasure under the umbrella of the Apricot Society, a fake organisation set up in Viet Nam and abroad.

Following efforts by the authorities to track the organisation, the group changed its name to Gia dinh nha Rong (Dragon Family), listed as a branch of the Apricot Association, to continue operations across the country.

The Dragon Family reportedly targeted retired state workers and foreigners to join the organisation and create an image of prestige, only to turn their members into victims.

Head of the Dragon Family organisation, Le Van Dung, who referred to himself as General Ba Vuong, cultivated trust among members by alleging to own a number of treasures and stores across the country, including one in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

Dung reportedly enlisted the help of Ngo Van Han as a lieutenant-general, Nguyen Phu Quoc as director of the QK Southern Construction Investment Company and a man named Vinh, who appointed himself ‘treasure keeper' in Lak District in Dak Lak Province.

According to a local resident, the men travelled to the province in August last year to inventory the treasure and even excavated a garden belonging to Y Nor Ong. Reports also indicate that the men failed to show any papers upon the request of local authorities and left the area.

Y Nor Ong later sent a letter requesting help from local authorities fearing reprisal attacks from victims of the Dragon Family, who would come looking for the treasure.

Nguyen Xuan Mung, deputy director of the ministry's Security and Investigation Department, said a number of people were swindled by the Dragon Family and lost assets.

"The swindlers took advantage of people's greed and credulousness to seek profits. The ministry wants to send warning to residents to avoid these kinds of organisations who want to exploit them," he said.

The department said residents seeking to file reports or tip offs on the Apricot Association can email daklak_ca@yahoo.com or call 05003869438. — VNS

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