Macau seeks mainland China cooperation to tackle illicit money exchange

Gaming-related crimes in Macau rose 110 per cent in H1.
Gaming-related crimes in Macau rose 110 per cent in H1.

Secretary for security, Wong Sio Chak is seeking enhanced cooperation with Chinese mainland security forces.

Macau.- Secretary for security Wong Sio Chak has expressed a desire for increased cooperation with security forces in mainland China to tackle illicit money-exchange gangs operating in the city. According to a press release, discussions on the matter took place during a meeting in Macau between local officials and a delegation from China’s Ministry of Public Security.

Wong provided an overview of the efforts by Macau’s police in combating Internet and telecommunications scams and illicit money exchange gangs known to operate in the vicinity of casinos. These gangs are involved in unauthorized currency swaps, a practice that often occurs on gaming floors or near the city’s casinos.

Macau’s casinos primarily use Hong Kong dollars for betting, but a significant portion of their clientele comes from mainland China, where there are restrictions on the amount of yuan that can be brought across the border. Currently, money exchange is categorised by Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office as a private transaction falling under the city’s financial regulatory framework rather than being treated as criminal offences.

The press release quoted vice minister Chen Siyuan from the Ministry of Public Security, who expressed continued support from mainland authorities for Macau’s police efforts in combating criminal activities. 

Earlier this month, Sio Chak said that Macau was considering the criminalisation of unauthorised currency exchange in the vicinity of casinos.

The Office of the Secretary for Security of Macau has reported that gaming-related crimes rose 110 per cent year-on-year during the first half of the year to 422 cases. That compares to 198 cases in H1 2022. Some 8,124 illicit bet-money changers were detected, an increase of 200 per cent, and 488 have been notified that they will be prohibited from entering casinos.

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