“In the first nine months of 2023, the number of individuals suspected of unlicensed exchange in Macau increased 232% year-on-year,” said the city’s security minister, Wong Sio-Chak, who said, “We held a legislative meeting on Friday to discuss policy speeches in 2024.
The propaganda issue was on the authorities’ radar during the pre-COVID period. Mr Wong, in his comments on Friday, noted that local authorities had arrested 9,633 people who were allegedly involved in unauthorized exchanges through September this year, as well as normalising travel in and out of Macau since January. The figure represents a rise of about 232% compared to 2,899 arrests made in the same period last year.
Wong said previously that the detection and suspension of such activities, which are common in and around casino buildings, was “the work of the judicial and public security officers,” but over these two, three years we have a game inspection coordinator to tackle it, and they attract casino operators to spot these illegal money transactions.” The latter was a reference to Macau’s casino regulator, also known as the DICJ.
Mr Wong was also asked about a topic mentioned by his colleague, former Minister of Administrative Justice Andre Cheng Wong, when he was speaking to Parliament last week. This was a question of how to deal with this money-trading business in the long term, which is unlicensed from a legal and enforcement standpoint but is not currently criminal.
Chung said the government has already dismissed the idea of solving the problem through an amendment to the Illegal Gambling Act, known as Law No. 8/96/M.
In remarks on Friday, Wong said: “We have previously communicated with the Executive and Justice Department. We are prepared to file a legal proposal only when we reach an agreement.”
Measures to deter unauthorized exchange will remain “patrol and inspection” for now or will prohibit suspects from re-entering Macau, he added.
Mr. Wong has previously suggested that there is money to be made related to crimes, including fraud, robbery, assault, and even murder..