Casino-related crime prompts police expansion

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Issue 1322, Page 2
Word count: 532
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Judiciary Police (PJ) plans to increase the number of its criminal investigators in response to rising casino-related crime in the territory, said Secretary for Security Cheong Kuoc Vá.

Between January and March this year, there were 186 and 31 criminal cases reported respectively inside and outside of local casinos, according to the statistics released in a press conference yesterday.

The secretary said that loan sharking accounted for the largest cases inside casino’s (35), then pick-pocketing (29) and the theft of gambling chips (18).

Meanwhile, “deprivation of freedom of movement”, which usually refers to illegal detention of debtors by loan sharks, made up 24 of the cases reported outside of the casinos in the first quarter of the year.

The Office of the Secretary for Security did not disclose the relative figures from the same period of 2010 for comparison, but Cheong Kuoc Vá said casino-related crime had “increased”.

He attributed the growth to the booming development in Macau’s gaming industry.

“Gaming revenues have been very strong over the past five months, meaning that a lot of people had come to Macau to gamble. The crime derived from surrounding the casinos certainly increased proportionally,” the secretary told reporters.

As such, he disclosed that the PJ will recruit an additional 70 criminal investigators amid the upward trend, adding that the 69 investigators previously enrolled will receive training shortly.

Juvenile delinquency goes up 

On the other hand, the crime statistics showed that there were 2,805 cases in the first three months of this year, down 1.2 percent when compared to the same period of 2010.

The figures indicated that, according to Cheong, Macau’s public security “remained stable”.

Yet, juvenile delinquency surged almost 86 percent to 39 cases, involving 44 boys and girls under the criminal liability age of 16 years old.

The secretary said that youth crime was mostly centred on shoplifting, theft of scooters and property damage.

He stressed that security forces are “very concerned” about the increase in juvenile delinquency and vowed to reinforce contact with other departments, schools and social organisations as well as to expand outreach and publicity campaigns.

In addition, Cheong said the police will carry out a string of inspections and raids in order to ensure a “safe environment” for local youth to enjoy the upcoming summer vacation.

Furthermore, the largest growth of 105.6 percent was reported in the act of false declaration to 74 cases between January and March. The secretary said the cases mostly involved the false submission of names, birth dates and other personal details.

Theft remained the most common type of crime in the SAR, accounting for 1,054 cases of the total.

Arson, however, dropped from 9 to 5 cases over the first quarter of 2010.

The statistics also showed that 292 illegal immigrants from mainland China were caught in the reporting period, whilst 6,646 mainland visitors were found to have overstayed their visas in Macau.

On the other hand, the secretary said the Public Security Police still have not completed the internal disciplinary investigation into the allegation of having treated journalists with violence in this year’s May 1 protest.

Yet, he said the report must be submitted “before the deadline stipulated by law”.

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