The first three months of the year have reportedly seen law enforcement officials in Macau increase their efforts against organized crime groups that conduct kidnappings and illegal loan-sharking tied to gambling.
According to a report from GGRAsia citing a Thursday briefing from Macau Security Secretary Wong Sio Chak, this crackdown fuelled a 14.1% year-on-year increase in the overall number of gambling-related crimes that had been recorded by police over the course of the first 90 days of 2019.
The government official detailed that of the 438 total incidents since the start of the year, 128 had been tied to illegal usury while a further 81 had been suspected kidnapping cases linked to the unlawful lending of money. Macau’s law enforcement agencies class crimes as gambling-related if they take place inside or in the immediate vicinity of a casino while the most recent figures purportedly represented a 37.3% rise in recorded episodes of possible unlawful detention alongside a 25.5% swell in suspected loan-sharking incidents.
GGRAsia moreover reported that police in Macau arrested some 71 individuals in February as part of the crackdown against loan-sharking and kidnappings while officials in the city have since established four inspection teams along with a special around-the-clock coordination center to help stamp out such activities.
Wong declared that law enforcement officials in the former Portuguese enclave have additionally begun to beef up their monitoring activities while strengthening communication processes with casino and hotel operators. However, he proclaimed that illegal loan-sharking and detentions still pose ‘no significant threat to the security of Macau society’ with the majority of victims and suspected perpetrators being from out of town.