Macau’s Secretary for the Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen has clarified earlier reports that Macau casinos have been given a July 1 deadline to get rid of their illegal UnionPay debit-card mobile swiping devices.
Speaking with Macau Business Daily, the top financial official in the territory said measures had been put in place, such as arresting those found to be using these devices illegally, and Tam is “closely monitoring” the situation and will “strengthen supervision if needed.” But the government hasn’t reached the point of issuing clear guidelines to stop these activities by a certain date.
All that could change if the practice of funneling funds into Macau through these illegal swiping devices doesn’t cease. Local authorities have already stepped up their efforts, arresting two men over the weekend after they were found carrying two of the swiping devices, together with HK$690,000 in cash and HK$500,000 worth of casino chips.
According to local police, the devices the two were carrying when they were arrested appear to have been modified to allow for reduced transaction fees – just 26 yuan instead of the 1.4 per cent Macau’s official UnionPay trading platform would have charged – making them far more preferable options for Macau gamblers looking to conduct illegal surface transactions.
The pair were believed to have made over 800 transactions worth MOP140 million via these devices since last May. The case has since been handed to the Public Prosecution Office where it is now being determined if these two are linked to arrests in February and March, when 10 locals were nabbed for similarly illicit activities.