Macau police say gaming-related crime increased last year but at a far slower pace than in 2015.
Figures released this week by Macau’s Judiciary Police (PJ) show a total of 1,851 gaming-related crimes recorded in 2016, 19.2% more than the number recorded in 2015. However, 2015’s total was 38% higher than the 1,125 cases in 2014, so while crime continues to rise, it’s only rising half as fast.
As usual, the predominant form of gaming-related crime was forcible detention of unlucky casino-goers who couldn’t pay off their gambling loans. The PJ recorded 503 such cases last year, 37.4% higher than in 2015. But here again, the growth was slower than it was in 2015, which saw forcible confinement cases related to casino debts rise nearly five-fold from 2014.
Speaking to the media on Monday, PJ Director Chau Wai Kuong noted that the increased number of reported cases of gaming-related crime was partly a reflection of the PJ’s increased focus on cracking down on perpetrators, leading to the PJ having “successfully closed more cases.”
As he has done in the past, Chau emphasized that since the majority of the illegal detention cases occurred on casino-hotel premises, they had minimal impact on Macau society as a whole.
Cases of gaming-related usury were up 38.7% to 411 in 2016. The PJ classifies crimes as gaming-related if they occur inside one of Macau’s casinos. The overall number of cases – not just gaming-related – recorded by the PJ last year was 12,340, up 9.2% year-on-year.
Non-gaming-related crimes were also on the increase, with drug trafficking cases rising 43.5% to 122, a reversal of fortune after the same category declined by nearly one-fifth in 2015. On the flip side, drug abuse cases rose slightly to 59 last year, but that’s still only around half the number recorded in 2014.
Macau kept a curious streak alive in 2016, as the PJ recorded just one murder case, the same as in each of the past two years.