Police Swoop On Macau Casino Gangs

Police Swoop On Macau Casino GangsAt the weekend, Macau police swooped on several of the Chinese enclave’s casinos in an attempt to clamp down on criminal gangs who have been responsible for harming the gambling resort’s reputation recently.
Last month, two men were found murdered at the five-star Grand Lapa hotel, and a woman not far from the Venetian casino. In addition, The Greek Mythology Casino part owner Mr. Ng Man Sun, 65, was violently attacked by men wielding hammers and sticks in the restaurant of his own casino.
Macau authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of the gang wars which gripped Macau in the 1990’s as Triad bosses, such as Broken Tooth Wan Kuok-koi, sought to extend their dominion over the gambling industry. Consequently, the weekend raids known as Operation Thunderbolt, saw around 1,300 people questioned by police with 150 of them then taken in for questioning.
On August 2, Hong Kong police also  raided 21 businesses with 131 arrests being made of people suspected of a variety of crimes, including money laundering, illegal gambling and prostitution. Police seized HK$3.4 million (US$450,000) in various currencies as part of the sting, and as a Macau police spokeswoman explained later:
“This operation is an annual exercise to maintain public security. It is a joint exercise undertaken by police in Guangdong province, Macau and Hong Kong to crack down and prevent crime in this region.”
Macau had been enjoying double digit growth in its gambling revenue since 2009, but June saw an increase of just 1.5%, with analyst forecasting a further slowdown over 2012. As well as a slowing Chinese economy, heavy handed tactics by junket operators may also have contributed to the decline driving high rolling gamblers back to Las Vegas.
The future of sustainable growth in Macau is seen as being related to making the resort a more tourist friendly destination, but as Connie Loi Kim Ieng from the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) explains:
“Macau should be developing family-oriented facilities, things that people can do as a family. What will the wife and kids do while the husband is gambling or playing golf?..their [gaming operators] main focus is casino goers, and they do not know really what the family wants.”


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