Macau recorded a total of 571 casino-related crimes in the first five months of 2015, up by 23.3 percent from the prior-year period, the director of the Judiciary Police Chau Wai Kuong (pictured) said on Wednesday. The list includes cases of abduction and crimes such as extortion and usury. In Macau such offences are typically connected to gambling-related loan sharking.
Portuguese-language newspaper Jornal Tribuna de Macau quoted Mr Chau saying that the increase in the number of reported crimes is likely to be related to an “adjustment phase” in the city’s casino industry.
In a speech earlier on Wednesday, Mr Chau said Macau’s domestic security situation had remained “stable” in the 12 months to May 31, but warned that reported gambling-related crimes had been increasing over the period.
The Judiciary Police recorded 149 abductions between June last year and May, 85 cases of extortion and 241 cases of illegal moneylending at extreme interest rates.
In full-year 2014, there were a total of 96 reports of extortion and 208 cases of loan sharking, according to data from the police.
In Wednesday’s speech, Mr Chau said the “adjustment phase” of the gaming industry might be leading to more casino-related crimes. He did not expand on the possible reasons for that.
Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau has dropped for 13 consecutive months measured on year-on-year terms. Aggregate GGR for the first six months of 2015 stands 37.0 percent lower than in the same period in 2014.
Mr Chau said the police would beef up surveillance at casinos and surrounding areas to prevent illegal activities at casino-hotels. “It is necessary for the police forces to pay maximum attention to the adjustments in the gaming sector, which could have an impact on security,” he said.
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