Almost 580 crimes were recorded

Macau sees 75% jump in gambling-related crimes during first five months of 2024

Reading time 1:15 min

Recent statistics from the Judiciary Police (PJ) reveal a significant surge in gambling-related crimes in Macau during the first five months of 2024, a 75.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

According to local media reports, there were 579 recorded cases, with fraud accounting for a substantial portion at 130 cases, 52 more cases than last year. About two-thirds of these cases are reportedly linked to money exchange gangs involved in illegal foreign exchange activities within the gambling hub.

During the same period, PJ identified 1,924 members of these money exchange gangs, with 927 individuals subsequently banned from Macau casinos by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Instances of loan sharking have also seen a sharp rise, jumping from 18 cases in early 2023 to 104 cases this year. This increase highlights concerns about the resurgence of such activities as Macau emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other crimes, such as theft and failure to report found objects, have also seen an uptick, particularly in bustling gambling districts frequented by tourists and locals alike.

Law enforcement officials in Macau reported an 18 percent year-on-year increase in overall crime during the first quarter of 2024, primarily attributed to the rise in scams and fraud cases.

Meanwhile, provisional data from the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) indicates that the gambling destination received 1.1 million international visitors in the first half of the year.

Talking to public broadcasting services TDM’s Ou Mun Tin Toi, MGTO Deputy Director Ricky Hoi said Macau is on track to surpass 2 million foreign visitors in 2024. The predicted numbers are significantly higher than last year's 1.4 million, though still short of the 3 million visitors recorded in 2019.

Hoi also mentioned that MGTO is working to broaden its international visitor base through partnerships, such as organizing one-day visits to Macau for up to 500 passengers from cruise ships docking in Hong Kong.

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