Macau’s gambling industry continued to decline in 2015 due to the anti-corruption crackdown launched by Beijing to weed out money laundering, racketeering and other forms of criminal activity. Macau’s Judiciary Police (PJ) recently released figures for gaming related crime that took place in 2015 and those figures show a massive spike in criminal activity.
According to the PJ, any criminal activity that takes place within a casino or its surroundings come under the category for gaming related crimes. Back in 2013, before the anti-corruption crackdown was launched the PJ had recorded a total of 944 gaming related crimes in Macau. The anti-corruption crackdown was launched in early 2014 and the PJ recorded a total of 1,125 gaming related crimes in 2014 and that number climbed to 1,553 cases in 2015, which revealed a crime related spoke of 38 percent.
While the anti-corruption crackdown was launched specifically to curb money laundering, the 2015 data reveals that money laundering or loan sharking as it is commonly referred to in Macau rose by 56 percent when compared to 2014 and a total of 318 arrests were made. The PJ also recorded a total of 366 arrests for unlawful detention or kidnapping which created a record jump of 463 percent when compared to data from 2014.
However criminal activity outside Macau’s casino industry declined significantly according to the Macau Daily Times with the PJ recording a drop in fraud related cases by -13.8 percent, information technology crimes by -9.3 percent, extortion by -15.6 percent and aggravated theft by -60 percent.
Chau Wai Kuong, the head of the Judiciary Police stated that the rise of gambling related crimes did pose a concern but the fact that overall crime in Macau has dropped has meant that the PJ in Macau are progressing in the right direction. Kuong has promised to address gambling related crimes but continuing to keep up the pressure on the gambling industry.
Kuong’s strategy in 2016 to curb gambling related crime is to be better prepared and increase the communication flow between the PJ and Macau’s casinos. Kuong will speak with members of the casino industry to ensure that they immediately report gambling related crimes and provide the PJ with as much information as possible.
To address the rise of gambling related crime in 2016, Kuong has requested for additional team members, especially criminal investigators who can form teams and track down gambling related crimes. Kuong already has a new bunch of recruits going through PJ training and these new recruits will join the Cotai branch and will focus on curbing gambling crimes for the Cotai stretch of casinos.