The gaming-related crime situation in Macau remains “serious”, the director of Judiciary Police Chau Wai Kuong (pictured) said in a speech on Wednesday.
“Although the performance of Macau’s gaming industry has stabilised since the second half of last year, the gaming-related crime situation remains serious,” he said.
“We have witnessed an increase in the number of cases of unlawful detention related to loan-sharking operations,” Mr Chau noted in his speech. “As such, police have strengthened patrols, having detected 20 cases of gaming-related unlawful detention in a single day.”
Mr Chau added the police would continue – in partnership with the city’s casino regulator and gaming operators – to beef up surveillance at casinos and surrounding areas to prevent gaming-related illegal activities.
Mr Chau additionally said that most gaming-related crime cases had taken place inside casinos, meaning that the rise in cases of suspected gaming-related crime had “not [negatively] impacted the overall public security” situation in Macau.
The Macau authorities label cases as gaming-related when they take place inside a casino or its surroundings.
Macau’s Judiciary Police recorded a total of 734 suspected gaming-related crimes in the first five months of this year, up by 74 cases compared with the prior-year period.
Of the suspected gaming-related crime cases recorded in the January to May period, 189 related to suspected unlawful detention in connection to loan-sharking operations targeting casino gamblers, a 11.8-percent year-on-year increase, according to the police figures.
Suspected cases of loan-sharking targeting gamblers totalled 151 in the first five months this year, down from 179 cases recorded in the prior-year period.
"The positive underlying contribution from each of our operating segments provides a strong start to the year"
Chief executive of lottery and gaming supplier IGT