Casino-linked crimes in Macau rose in the first quarter of 2015 as revenues plummeted, with the number of illegal detentions involving forced collection of gaming debts by triads almost doubling year-on-year to 67 cases.
Authorities say there has also been a surge in the number of arson attacks, document forgery cases and what the authorities describe as “crimes jeopardising the territory,” according to the South China Morning Post.
The crime spike comes ahead of next week’s opening of Galaxy Phase II and Galaxy Broadway.
Though crime rates appear to be linked to China’s anti-graft campaign which has driven down gaming revenues for 11 straight months now, Macau’s secretary for security, Wong Sio-chak, insisted the gaming hub’s security situation was stable and that the growth in illegal detentions and loan sharking “still does not provide enough evidence that the current adjustment in the gaming industry has affected Macau’s social public security,” the SCMP reported.
Citing a casino industry source, the newspaper said the surge in illegal detentions and loan sharking indicated that “criminal enterprises” were looking to make up for losses from VIP operations which have taken a hit amid China’s anti-corruption drive.
“Business is business for these guys, and if they can’t get their pound of flesh one way, they’ll get it another way,” the source said