Macau police said they would do it and they did. In order to curb illegal loan-sharking, which often leads to kidnapping and false imprisonment as the criminals use any means necessary to be paid, law enforcement officials in the gambling city have said they would step up efforts to clean up the streets. According to information just released by Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, those efforts have been effective and criminal activity dropped in the second quarter of the year.
Wong indicates that unlawful detention has still risen from previous years, seeing a 17.4% year-on-year increase over the first six months of the year and reaching 169 cases. Of that amount, 166 were tied to loan sharks, which is an aggregate increase of 23% from last year. However, breaking it down by quarter, the second quarter saw just 11.8% more than a year ago, a substantial drop from the 37.3% from the first quarter.
The first half of the year recorded 295 cases of loan-sharking activity tied to gambling, 16.1% more than the same period last year. Dissecting the numbers by quarter, though, revealed that the first quarter of 2019 saw a 25.5% year-on-year increase, while the second quarter registered an increase of just 9.9% compared to the second quarter of 2018.
Wong attributes the drop to increased efforts on the part of local law enforcement, explaining, “The police forces have continuously patrolled and combatted against these two types of gaming-related crimes, and we’ve accomplished some effective results.” Wong asserted this past May that the forces would be taking additional measures to increase security and patrols across the city.
Since the beginning days of June, police have been conducted more “large-scale” patrols in casinos, as well as their surrounding areas. Police are also in almost constant contact with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Macau’s gaming regulator, and even presented a list of suggested names that should be blacklisted for suspected involvement in illegal activity.
Wong adds about the city’s potential for crime, “Macau’s security condition may see more uncertainties as several celebrations and large-scale events are drawing near in the second half of this year, with more visitors coming here. In face of this the police forces will maintain a high alert to casino-related security issues, and reinforce our collaborations with Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau as well as the gaming industry to prevent and fight crimes.”
Among those celebrations is this December’s 20th anniversary honoring the transfer of Macau from Portugal to China.