Macau recorded a total of 3,023 casino-related crimes in 2014, up by 16.3 percent from the previous year, the director of the Judiciary Police Chau Wai Kuong (pictured) said on Tuesday. They include cases of abduction and crimes such as extortion and usury. In Macau such offences are typically connected to gambling-related loan sharking.
Mr Chau was quoted by Rádio Macau saying that the increase in the number of reported crimes is likely to be related to what he referred to as an “adjustment phase” in the city’s casino industry and to the increase in policing at gaming venues.
Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau has dropped for eight consecutive months measured on year-on-year terms. GGR fell by 17.4 percent year-on-year in January to MOP23.75 billion (US$2.97 billion), showed official data published on Monday.
Mr Chau said the downturn in gaming industry revenue might have led to more casino-related crimes last year. He did not expand on the possible reasons for that, according to local media reports.
Data released on Tuesday show there were 96 reports of extortion last year, up by 36 cases from 2013. In addition, there were 208 cases in 2014 of illegal moneylending at extreme interest rates, a 20.2 percent jump from the previous year.
The Judiciary Police recorded 71 abductions last year, up from 39 cases in 2013.
Macau’s new Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, last month said the territory’s police would beef up surveillance at casinos and surrounding areas. Mr Wong said the authorities want to strengthen cooperation with the industry to prevent illegal activities at casino-hotels.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau