In Macau, a senior government official has reportedly admitted that it is proving ‘difficult’ to stamp out the illegal ‘multiplier’ practice in the VIP rooms of the enclave’s many casinos despite the use of undercover investigators.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the revelation from Wong Sio Chak, Security Secretary for Macau, came during a Legislative Assembly policy debate on Tuesday in response to a question from government-appointed legislator Davis Fong Ka Chio regarding what measures were currently being undertaken to counter the illicit practice.

GGRAsia reported that the ‘multiplier’ scheme sees dealers and players in VIP gaming rooms secretly agree to magnify any bets physically present on a table so as to lower the amount of tax due from either the casino or its patrons. An official report into the practice published in May of 2016 purportedly found that it was often utilized to multiply wagers by up to ten times and was ‘greatly restricting government taxation and seriously disruptive to social order’.

“Regarding the crime of ‘multiplier’, it is difficult to either discover or to obtain evidence or to deploy undercover investigators,” Wong reportedly told members of the Legislative Assembly. “It’s difficult to discover because there is an agreement between the two parties involved and there is no victim in the crime. It is also the case that neither party would report the crime, which [means that it is] deeply concealed.”

Despite previously proclaiming that he was ‘open’ to the idea of inserting undercover investigators into casinos in order to stamp out ‘multiplier’ activities, Wong reportedly declared that these efforts were moreover being hampered by the fact that ‘Macau is such a small place that if a person becomes a police officer, the whole world knows’.