Macau’s anti-corruption crackdown against VIP gamblers from Mainland China has been going on for the last 24 months and has resulted in stricter visa regulations to tourists from Mainland China. In 2015, the government decided to cut down on the number of days tourists from Mainland China could remain in Macau. Five members of the Macau police have been accused of running a racket to manipulate these visa restrictions by allowing gamblers from Mainland China to remain in Macau longer than their visa permitted.
One retired officer from the immigration services and four current police officers from Macau’s Public Security Police Force had a very lucrative scheme set up that gave gamblers from Mainland China illegal access into Macau, transport services into the city and protection services as long as they remained in Macau.
The five member corrupt police team would charge each gambler a total of MOP 70,000 for entering Macau illegally, an additional MOP 80,000 for transport and protection services and a final amount of MOP 70,000 for exiting Macau safely. In all, the gang would collect around MOP 220,000 from each gambler per trip and split the amount between them. The high fee of MOP 220,000 ($27,500) suggests that these were VIP gamblers who were willing to pay these bribery charges to gain access to Macau’s casinos.
These five corrupt officials were arrested on the 14th of January and are being interrogated to find out if more officials were part of this racket. The Judiciary Police believe that this racket has been operating for close to four years and during this time the gang has made over MOP 1.8 million.
The arrest of these 5 officers have caused serious concern for Macau’s government as it becomes harder to enforce anti-corruption rules when then ones enforcing them are corrupt. Wong Sio Chak, the secretary for security in Macau has asked the Public Security Police Force to launch a full review into all internal controls and supervisory procedures to ensure that a similar incident does not occur.
In a statement, Wong said “The government will not tolerate any criminal behaviour and will take resolute action against any member of the public security forces found guilty of misconduct.” There are also media reports in Macau that the Judiciary Police are investigating the five suspects to see if they were also collaborating with junket operators to ferry in these VIP gamblers.