Macau a tempting target for “spectacular” terrorist attack, says new report

macau-terrorist-targetThursday’s ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta have added extra urgency to a new report stressing Macau’s desirability as a terrorist target.

Hong Kong-based risk consultancy Steve Vickers and Associates Ltd released its 2016 Asia Risk Assessment report on Wednesday, which includes the possibility of a “spectacular attack on a soft target such as a mall in Australia or a casino in Macau.”

The report cites the “nexus of Chinese, American and Jewish interests in [Macau’s] gaming sector” as presenting the terrorist equivalent of hitting a trifecta.

China’s Xinjiang autonomous region, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, is home to a large population of Muslim Uighurs. Extremists in their ranks have increasingly clashed with non-Muslims in recent years, including an attack on a coalmine in September 2015 in which at least 50 people died, prompting Beijing to clamp down even harder on dissent.

The American and Jewish components of Vickers’ nexus are most prominently embodied in Sheldon Adelson, the Sands China boss who is an outspoken supporter of Israel and who publicly suggested dropping a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert as a warning. American companies also control Wynn Macau and MGM China.

Steve Vickers is the former head of the Hong Kong police criminal intelligence bureau and is no stranger to Macau. A few years ago, Sands China hired Vickers to compile background reports on some Macau junket operators and public officials. These reports have become the subject of great interest in the wrongful termination suit brought by former Sands China CEO Steve Jacobs.

The Vickers report was issued just two days after ISIS fanatics targeted a casino in the Iraqi town of Mugdadiya, just northeast of Baghdad, leaving 23 people dead. A suicide bomber is believed to have triggered an explosive vest inside the venue, then a car bomb detonated outside after a crowd gathered to help those hurt by the first blast.

Beirut’s Casino du Liban was reportedly the target of Islamic extremists who planned to detonate a car bomb during the casino’s 2014 New Year’s Eve celebrations. That plot, which was hatched by the Syrian al-Nusra Front, was broken up when Lebanese army forces arrested the would-be bombers before they could strike.