In Macau, law enforcement officials are reportedly set to begin collaborating with their counterparts in mainland China in order to stamp out all illegal wagering utilizing the WeChat social messaging service.

According to a Friday report from GGRAsia, the announcement came from Wong Sio Chak (pictured), Security Secretary for Macau, after he revealed that last year had seen police in the former Portuguese enclave bust five suspected instances of ‘betting via WeChat’.

Wong reportedly explained that ‘crime syndicates’ had ‘solicited gamblers in mainland China’ to broadcast games from Macau and Filipino casinos while carrying out gambling utilizing the Chinese-language app’s incorporated payment service.

“The Judiciary Police will enhance its collaboration with mainland police departments to work on the prevention and investigation of such crimes,” Wong reportedly told GGRAsia.

Wong moreover reportedly divulged that one bust conducted by local police in June had resulted in the arrests of 13 Chinese nationals as well as four Macau residents for illegally using WeChat in order to conduct casino gambling. Choi Ian Fai, a spokesperson for Macau’s Judiciary Police, purportedly told GGRAsia that the alleged perpetrators had used the ability to ‘play real baccarat games in Macau’ as a unique ‘selling point’ of their WeChat service.

In related news, GGRAsia also reported that Macau’s Judiciary Police recently stated that 2017 saw incidents of gambling-related crime drop by 0.2% year-on-year with some 1,847 cases taking place inside or immediately near a casino. The data purportedly indicated that episodes of unlawful money lending had fallen by 4.5% last year to 448 while occurrences of suspected unlawful detention had declined by 7.5% to 466.+

In addition, the figures reportedly showed that most of the suspects involved in gambling-related crimes last year had been ‘non-local’ while the Judiciary Police had presented some 2,171 suspects to the Public Prosecutions Office, which represented a swell of 8.4% year-on-year.

“The Judiciary Police proactively investigated and cracked multiple loan-sharking crime syndicates last year,” Wong reportedly told GGRAsia. “This effectively hammered the gaming-related criminal activities and prevented them from spreading to the community. This is believed to be the main reason the number of loan-shaking and unlawful detention cases were declining.”