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HomeNewsMacauIllicit money exchange in Macau becoming "corporatized and professional", warns security chief

Illicit money exchange in Macau becoming “corporatized and professional”, warns security chief

Illicit money exchange in Macau’s casino areas is increasingly becoming “corporatized and professional” in its operations, according to the SAR’s security chief.

At a press conference hosted by Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, authorities reported 351 gambling-related crimes in the first quarter of 2024. This marks an increase of 193 cases, or 122.2 percent, compared to the same period in 2023, but a decrease of 87 cases, or 19.9 percent, compared to the same period in 2019.

Wong Sio Chak, Macau Gaming Crime
Macau Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak (middle)

The year-on-year rise in gambling-related crimes was attributed to a significant increase in the number of tourists and the recovery of the gaming industry.

Police data also show that, among the various crimes stemming from the “money-changing business” in the first quarter of 2024, fraud was the most prevalent type, with a total of 149 cases. This represents an increase of 112 cases from 2023 and 107 cases from the first quarter of 2019.

Among 124 cases involving the “money exchange businesses”, the perpetrators used methods such as fake notes and remittance fraud. Additionally, there were 20 “money exchange businesses” reported by victims, with fraudsters mostly using delayed transfers or forged transfer vouchers to defraud the businesses or individuals of cash.

Zeng Zhonglu, Macau
Professor Zeng Zhonglu

Speaking to AGB, Zeng Zhonglu, a gaming scholar, noted that illicit money exchange has always existed around Macau’s casino areas. However, he indicated that fraud-related cases have become more prevalent compared to the pre-COVID period, among the reported incidents.

“The government should strengthen efforts to combat this issue, as money exchange fraud has a very negative impact on Macau’s gaming industry,” he said.

In the first quarter of 2024, fraud cases comprised a significant portion of gambling-related crimes, totaling 76 cases and accounting for about 21.7 percent of the total. This was followed by 63 usury cases, accounting for about 17.9 percent of the total.

There were also 48 cases of theft, accounting for about 13.7 percent of the total, and 45 cases of improper appropriation, making up about 12.8 percent of the total.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chanhttps://agbrief.com/
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.

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