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Gaming-Related Crime on the Rise in Macau

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Macau's gaming market continues to reach new success, even if it's intertwined with some drops in revenue, as well. As the city returns to pre-COVID-19 activity levels, so does crime, but the gaming industry is still relatively clean.

Macau's Criminal Element Returns

Macau's Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, disclosed on Monday that the Special Administrative Region (SAR) experienced a total of 9,653 criminal incidents from January 1 to September 30, 2023. 716 of them were linked to the gaming sector.

Related: Macau Gaming-Related Crime on the Rise

In a comparative analysis, Wong highlighted a notable surge of 176% in gaming-related crimes compared to last year. While overall crime increased by 31.7%, gaming-related offenses demonstrated a decline of 55.2% when juxtaposed with the same period in 2019.

Breaking down the gaming-related cases, Wong identified 155 instances of fraud, showcasing a significant uptick of 139% year-on-year. Additionally, theft in casinos witnessed an increase of 486%, with 129 reported cases.

Amid these statistics, the law enforcement authorities intercepted 9,633 individuals associated with money exchange gangs, signifying a substantial spike of 230% in comparison to 2022. This surge prompted discussions on the potential criminalization of illicit money exchange activities around Macau's casinos. Wong warned, "In order to further curb money exchange gang members and increase the cost of their offences, the relevant laws on illegal money exchange activities will be filled in and the penalties will be improved."

Highlighting ongoing efforts, Wong mentioned that the Judiciary Police had submitted a proposal to the legal department, focusing on the feasibility of criminalizing illegal money exchange activities. The objective is to elevate the cost of such crimes and enhance the efficiency of law enforcement.

Telecom Fraud Takes Over

Aside from gaming-related issues, Wong shed light on a noteworthy rise in cases related to telecommunication network fraud, particularly those associated with concert tickets. A total of 135 cases were reported in the first three quarters of the year.

Wong attributed this surge to lifestyle changes influenced by the pandemic and an increased reliance on the internet. He remarked, "At present, telecommunication network fraud has become the fastest growing type of crime in Macau and its neighboring regions."

The security landscape in Macau has witnessed fluctuations in various crime categories, prompting authorities to address emerging challenges, particularly in the gaming and telecommunications sectors. The proposed measures aim to strengthen the legal framework, deter criminal activities and bolster the efficiency of law enforcement in safeguarding the region.

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