Macau Gambling Murders Harm Resort's Reputation

Macau Gambling Murders Harm Resort's ReputationIn Macau, gambling tourism has been rising steadily over the past few years with its 33 casinos now accounting for around half the enclave’s economy. Last year alone, gambling revenue reached a massive $33.5 billion, while local government has also expressed the desire to  develop a more family oriented resort.
However, a spate of murders in recent times could damage the reputation of the Chinese enclave, and bring back unsavory memories of the late 1990’s, when bombings, gang murders and other violent activities were prevalent. Over the past two weeks there have been three murders compared to five murders for the whole year period between June 2011 and May 2012.
On the weekend of July 14, two Chinese men were found murdered in the Grand Lapa Hotel, with a friend later indicating the men had run into gambling related money problems. A third murder was also said to be gambling oriented, and as the CEO of security consultancy firm Steve Vickers & Associates, explains:
“Macau is going through a period of instability. There seems to be a disturbance..amongst the lower end of the junket community.”
Junket operators bring in around 70% of Macau’s gambling revenue and operate as part luxury service providers, and part money lenders to gamblers, often extending high end credit for hefty commissions. Debt collecting methods, however, can be indelicate, and as Macau-based political analyst Larry So explains:
“They keep your travel documents, passport or ID until you pay them. They essentially hold you in custody. If you don’t pay, they will ask your relatives and friends to come and pay.”
It seems no one is immune from the upswing in violence in Macau highlighted by a recent incident involving the brutal beating of Mr. Ng Man Sun, 65, who owns the biggest share in AMAX Holdings, which in turn owns around 25% of The Greek Mythology Casino on Taipa Island. The increasing frequency that stories like these are being reported are bad news for Macau, the upshot of  which can only lead to a damaged reputation, as well as a decline in its business.

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