The number of gaming-related crimes in Macau in the first half of the year fell 45.2% year-on-year, down 198 from 361 in the first half of 2021, the security minister’s office said on Tuesday.
The year-on-year decline was attributed to a drop in the number of arrivals heading to Macau amid COVID-19 restrictions, the government said. Cases in the six months to June 30 were down only 7.0%, compared with 213 recorded in the first half of 2020, when the pandemic impact on tourism peaked.
About 27% of cases in the first half of 2022, or 54 cases, were classified as fraud related to the casino environment. According to the report, 23 of them were related to currency exchange. Fraud cases were down 56.5% from the first half of 2021, the security office said. 경마
Other types of gaming-related offences, namely loan sharks, thefts and individual forced detention, all showed a year-on-year decline.
“In 2021, [Macao] COVID-19 situation stabilized and travel restrictions were introduced, increasing the number of visitors to Macau. Correspondingly, game-related crimes were also on the rise,” the security service said.
“However, during the first half of 2022, the coronavirus variant Omicron is rapidly spreading around the world, and the virus has also reached Macau and neighboring areas. As a result, the number of visitors to Macau has decreased again,” he said, blaming the decline in the number of visitors to Macau on a decline in game-related crime cases.
Another factor in the decline in the first half of 2022 was local police action against “criminal groups,” the report said, without giving further details.
Illegal currency exchange, which was a noticeable phenomenon last year, has also decreased. Police conducted a survey of 2,725 individuals in the six months to June 30 on such matters, down 39.1 percent from the same period last year.
The report says “most” of individuals suspected of illegal currency exchange activities are from mainland China. It also noted that local police were conducting regular crackdowns, but cited the office as concluding that organized groups were increasingly pursuing such activities and “more specialized.”
Such activities are sometimes linked to fraud, forced detention of individuals or fighting, the office repeated in a recent report.