Macau’s Judiciary Police detained 28 people on Thursday at the Venetian Macao casino resort in Cotai, following a special operation targeting casino-related crimes.
According to the authorities, the 28 people detained were all from mainland China. The police said the people were taken for further investigation, as they were suspected of offering illicit money exchange services in the casino property.
During a press conference on Thursday, the Judiciary Police said it had noted of an increase in crimes inside the city’s casino hotels connected to the offering of illicit money exchange services. The police has already conducted two operations so far this year to crack down on such crimes, respectively on January 26 and on Thursday, according to local media reports.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Judiciary Police spokesperson Chan Cho Man said that a total of five cases of suspected crimes related to illicit money exchange services at casino hotels had been recorded so far this year. The police recorded a total of 18 such cases for full-year 2017, a significant increase compared to only five cases in 2016.
“We are paying close attention to this situation and we will continue to crack down on this type of crime,” Mr Chan said.
The Judiciary Police had conducted a similar operation at two of the city’s casino hotels on January 26. At the time, a total of 31 people – all from mainland China, and allegedly involved in unlicensed money exchange activities – were detained for further investigation, local media reported.
The 31 people detained in the first of such operations this year were eventually repatriated to mainland China and banned from entering Macau “for some time”. The authorities said the offering of illicit money exchange services breached Macau’s financial regulatory framework. But they were not found to have committed other criminal acts, according to the Judiciary Police.
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"The ICAC in Hong Kong has the authority to detain people or to arrest people. But being detained or arrested – and actually being charged – are completely different things"
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