Cameras equipped with facial recognition technology would help deter criminal activity in the vicinity of Macau’s casinos, said on Wednesday a representative of the city’s Unitary Police Service. The police officer was speaking at a question and answer session with Macau legislators regarding security measures at the city’s casinos.
The Macau government had announced in its most recent policy address that it planned to install up to 1,600 video surveillance cameras by 2020. Of those, 200 cameras would be equipped with facial recognition technology, according to the government.
The Portuguese-language channel of public broadcaster Radio Macau quoted the representative of the Unitary Police Service as saying that the facial-recognition cameras would be installed in four separate phases. The work was to be completed by the same 2020 deadline.
Another representative of Macau’s police said the force was planning to beef up the number of officers patrolling areas around casinos. The person said the force carried out on average 14 inspections at casinos each month, adding that a total of 87 people had been detained either for alleged fraud or illegal money exchange in the first two months of 2019.
“We are very focused on combating loan sharking,” said the police representative, adding that the force had a “short- and medium-term plan” to clamp down on these illegal activities.
In Wednesday’s session, the head of Macau’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known by the acronym DICJ, said that since 2017 more than 550 people had been barred by the authorities from entering the city’s casinos for breaching existing legislation.
Paulo Martins Chan said additionally that the regulator had staff posted 24 hours per day in every casino in the city. “DICJ’s inspectors … are professionally trained and, upon detecting or suspecting that … a crime has occurred inside a casino, they will immediately communicate with the police,” said Mr Chan.
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Arnaldo Ho Yau Heng
Director and assistant chief operating officer of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA (SJM)