The most senior law enforcement official in Macau has revealed that the number of criminal offences related to gambling or casinos during the first six months of 2016 grew by 13.5% year-on-year to 814 while overall crime increased by 1.4% with 7,135 arrests over the period.
According to a report from television and radio broadcaster Teledifusao De Macau, Wong Sio Chak, Secretary for Security Secretary For Macau, stated that a recent government crackdown on corruption has led to crime spilling out from casinos especially cases involving loan-sharking.
“Starting from July, crime cases involving gambling affairs have indeed expanded to outside of casinos,” Wong told Teledifusao De Macau. “We need to emphasise this. We will increase the number of criminal investigators and strengthen the regulation on any illegal activities or organizations. This will emphasise the regulation and investigation on overseas crime syndicates.”
Wong additionally defended the government’s decision to fine Uber drivers, which is a policy that is close to driving the car-hailing service out of the former Portuguese enclave. He explained that there had been 379 cases during the six months from January involving the taxi app with 346 fines having already been paid amounting to over $1.25 million.
Thursday saw Jose Pereira Coutinho from the Legislative Assembly Of Macau reveal that Uber is considering suspending its services in Macau while Wong declared that any car-hailing service is required to bid for one of the city’s 100 taxi licenses, which are issued by the Land, Public Works And Transport Bureau.
“This is a legal online taxi calling service that maintains a taxi service in Macau and it is the responsibility of any passenger to travel safely,” said Wong. “I believe that, as long as it follows the law and government policy, the government welcomes anybody or company to bid and provide a good transportation service in Macau.”
Wong revealed that his office is additionally considering whether to toughen penalties for those caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs after a man allegedly under the influence of alcohol was found last week driving on the wrong side of the Amizade Bridge.