In Macau, suspected gambling-related crime during the first three months of 2017 reportedly climbed by some 15.2% year-on-year to 424 individual instances and was led by an 18% swell in alleged occurrences of unlawful detention to 105 cases.

According to official figures from the city’s Public Prosecutions Office, the number of first-quarter suspected unlawful detention instances, which are typically associated with loan-sharking activities, conversely represented a drop of 32.3% quarter-on-quarter while alleged gaming-related cases of unlawful money lending declined by 16% year-on-year to 84.

Authorities in the former Portuguese enclave label crimes as gaming-related when they take place inside or near a casino with 445 people reportedly arrested for suspected involvement in such infractions during the first quarter of the year, which equated to a rise of 5% from the same period in 2016.

Wong Sio Chak, Security Secretary for Macau, stated that the majority of victims and perpetrators in suspected first-quarter unlawful money lending and detention cases had been “non-Macau residents” while explaining that the year-on-year overall increase in gambling-related crimes had been partly due to “better enforcement of the law,” according to GGRAsia. He additionally declared that most of these instances had occurred inside a casino and was confident that such criminal activities were not spreading further.

Overall, official figures reportedly showed that law enforcement agencies in Macau filed 3,502 criminal reports during the first quarter of 2017, which was a rise of 5.1% year-on-year, with arson one of the biggest factors due to 15 instances over the three-month period. In addition, cases of the reselling of fake currency increased by 90% to 95 for just over $1.09 million while the occurrence of fraudulent businesses grew by 28.8% to 219 individual cases.

Interestingly, the first-quarter prevalence of “crimes against society” reportedly swelled by 54.8% year-on-year to 288 cases while violent crimes increased by 5.5% to 191 instances although overall robbery and theft cases declined by 37.9% and 7% respectively.