• Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, who became affectionately known as the Black Panther, died aged 71. He was known for his athletic prowess and clinical finishing that made him one of the world’s top scorers during his heyday in the 1960s for Benfica and the Portuguese national team. Eusebio visited Macau three times, playing for veteran teams.
• The director of the Transport Bureau (DSAT), Wong Wan, has declared that he is the main government official accountable for issues related to the current bus operation system. “If we are to determine liability, I am the first person to assume responsibility since, alongside my team, I was the one responsible for implementing the new bus operation model,” he stated at the AL.
• Li Gang, the new head of China’s Liaison Office in Macau, thinks that the current scale of visitor numbers is appropriate but warns that any “blind expansion” may result in burdens on the city. Li presided over the Liaison Office’s reception celebration for the forthcoming Lunar New Year for the first time, after he took to office earlier this month.
• Jan. 19 marked the 100th anniversary of the International Day for Migrants and Refugees. Celebrations were held among the local community “to ease the migrants’ loneliness,” as put by the organizers. In St. Joseph’s school auditorium, activities began at noon with a “fellowship lunch” featuring booths with different types of food. Cultural presentations from Myanmar, Vietnam, East Timor, Indonesia, China, Macau, Philippines and Thailand were staged by migrant workers.
Croupiers at the Emperor Palace adopted a work-to-rule action to express their anger about cuts to their annual bonus. The dispute subsided when most of the Emperor staff accepted the new offer of a bonus worth double their monthly salary.
• The number of visitors to Macau reached one million during the Chinese New Year holiday, registering a growth of 13 percent from the same period in 2013, according to preliminary statistics from Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO). The large influx of visitors placed Macau’s transportation system under intense pressure. This resulted in extreme congestion on many stops along the tourist trail, leaving strains on infrastructure and local residents frustrated.
• Leong Kam Chun, the incumbent president of the Executive Committee of the local public broadcaster Teledifusão de Macau (TDM) submitted his letter of resignation to the Chief Executive. The government has chosen Manuel Pires to replace him. Mr Pires was the president of TDM’s board of directors and deputy director of the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO).
• Webpages of Las Vegas Sands’ famous casinos, such as The Venetian Macao and the Palazzo Casino in Las Vegas, were hacked, as well as the company’s corporate site. Additional casinos owned by the company located in Pennsylvania, U.S., and Singapore were also targeted.
• SJM held the ground-breaking ceremony for its latest resort project: Lisboa Palace – a development involving an investment of HKD30 billion, HDK5 billion more than initially planned. The chairman of the board of directors, Ambrose So, emphasized the building’s design, unique to the rest of the world.
The Commission of Audit (CA) has accused the Public Security Police Force of a lack of consistency regarding the management of traffic fines. In a report released yesterday, the CA has warned authorities that the inconsistencies have increased the risk of indictment notices becoming lost.
• Macau casino revenue exceeded expectations and increased to record levels of 40 percent in February, after a jump in mainland Chinese visitors during the Chinese New Year.
• The University of Macau’s (UM) Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) became the first faculty to move onto the new campus on Hengqin Island. Prof. Ge Wei, interim dean of FHS, noted that the faculty’s relocation on February 28 marked the beginning of a new chapter in the histories of both the faculty and the University of Macau itself.
• Wearing masks and standing in front of the government headquarters, a group of residents stressed that “everyone could be a victim” of domestic violence, especially “if there is no real protection from a domestic violence law that lists all cases of domestic violence as a public crime.”
• The Rolling Stones took Macau by storm with their first-ever concert at The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena. The legendary band took to the stage in front of a sold-out audience of over 10,000 enthusiastic fans as part of their “14 on Fire” tour.
• Sin Fong Garden proprietors have gathered outside the residential building, deemed to be dangerous, in protest of the Macau government’s inefficiency in handling the matters concerning their apartment block.
• Sin Fong residents were incensed by a newly-released report recommending that they sue building constructors. This resulted in their decision to occupy the street facing the building, as had been done so in March.
• The issue has stagnated for many years, but a final decision has been made: the Portuguese School of Macau (EPM) will remain at its current location and will undergo renovation work, as confirmed by the Portuguese Minister of Education and Science, Mr Nuno Crato, during a visit to Macau.
• The government has announced a set of measures to combat the pollution that has severely affected Coloane’s Ka Ho village in recent years. Factories and construction sites will be required to suspend operation for all equipment causing pollution. Roads will be washed four times a day, and fences will be installed near the village’s two schools in order to deter dust and noise.
• The temporary ATM network shutdown affected Macau residents travelling to Thailand. It was a result of an increase in criminal activities concerning the use of counterfeit bankcards, the Monetary Authority of Macau has confirmed.
• The Times revealed the story of an Indonesian national who stayed for nearly a month at the Macau International Airport after her arrival, as she was not permitted to enter Macau and refused to return to her home country.
• The Portuguese president Cavaco Silva believes that his May visit to China and Macau has “elevated the strategic partnership that Portugal has established with China.” During a final press conference at the Portuguese Consulate, the president stated that the “new element” brought by the visit was marked by “strong cooperation between universities.”
• Wynn Macau Ltd. fell the most in over two years of Hong Kong trading, leading to declines among operators of China’s only legal casinos, amid concerns that a reported crackdown on illegal money transfers will lower demand.
• Macau witnessed what some have dubbed the largest demonstrations since the 1999 handover. Organizers say that 20,000 people took to the streets and demanded that the Macau government retract the legislation that provides high officials with what the protesters considered an unreasonable level of compensation after leaving office. They also demanded that the Chief Executive’s immunity from prosecution be removed.
• Two days after the first demonstration, lawmakers unanimously approved the Chief Executive’s request to withdraw the top officials’ compensation bill voting procedure from the Legislative Assembly’s plenary agenda. Outside the AL, many protesters gathered to voice their views against the bill’s reassessment, insisting that it should be dropped.
• “No matter how the rainstorm hits, the flower of freedom will still blossom,” said the memorial slogan of the June 4 vigil held at Macau’s Senado Square. Twenty-five years after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, “June 4” is still considered a sensitive word by China’s media outlets. However, history was not forgotten amongst local residents.
• Signs reading “No entry for tourists” were placed at the gate and inside the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady, located in the central district. Staff chose to implement this measure so that churchgoers would not be disturbed by noisy tourists.
• Following intense speculation, the Macau government has finally revealed that Nova Era (New Era) will take over Reolian and become the city’s new bus operator. The Secretary for Transportation and Public Works, Lau Si Io, disclosed that the majority shareholder of the new company is Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau (TCM), one of the two current bus companies.
• A high-speed ferry traveling from Hong Kong to Macau crashed into a breakwater, injuring 70 people, one of whom required surgery. The vessel was carrying 220 passengers and 13 crew members when it hit the seawall before veering to its right off the Outer Harbor. This is the third ferry incident in eight months on the busy route between Hong Kong and Macau. In May, over 30 people were injured after a high-speed ferry from the same company collided with a cargo ship near Hong Kong.
• Eric Sautede, senior lecturer of Asian Politics at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) was dismissed due to his regular commentary on public affairs in local media, including the Times, where he publishes a column. The scholar’s dismissal caused controversy among students and professors. Academic freedom was largely discussed during the following months.
• Twenty-three-year old Sulu Sou Ka Hou was elected president of the New Macau Association. The ANM leader was chosen by the association’s council and pledged to participate more in social movements and strive to unite the association.
• The government has revealed a revised master plan of one of the five reclaimed zones, which outlines the addition of more housing units – 32,000 housing units including public and private developments instead of the 18,000 suggested in the previous proposal.
The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau released a statement confirming that the McDonalds in Macau imported crispy chicken produced by OSI Shanghai. The company owns the Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, which was shut down by the mainland authorities amid food safety concerns.
• Pro-democratic groups organizing a civil referendum on universal suffrage filed an appeal at court after the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau rejected all attempts to hold 10 assemblies designed to promote the ballot. By resorting to a court appeal, political activist Jason Chao said they are “putting Macau’s rule of law to test.”
• Seeking a second term, Chui Sai On has promised to reinforce ties between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. In a Q&A session with Electoral College members, the Chief Executive said there is still room for improvement in relations between China and the Lusophone countries.
• Several casino workers rallied at Friendship Square opposite the Grand Lisboa, demanding a salary adjustment and welfare increases.
• Three pro-democratic groups attempting to hold a civil referendum have faced yet another setback, as the Court of Final Appeal decided against placing polling stations in Macau’s streets.
• The University of Macau began the 2014/2015 school year. About 4,000 students will live in the Residential College (RC) in the new campus. There will be more than 9,000 students in the new school year, including 1,700 freshmen.
• The president of the Open Macau Society and political activist Jason Chao, along with four civil referendum volunteers, were detained by police authorities for allegedly violating the personal data protection law.
• The incumbent Chief Executive Chui Sai On has succeeded in his latest attempt to stay in the high office for another five years, running as the sole candidate in the CE election. He received 380 of 396 votes cast by the 400-member Electoral College, amounting to 96.95 percent of the total number of votes. This was slightly higher than the 95.27 percent tabled in the 2009 election.
• The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) 21 member economies have agreed on a set of eight measures focused on regional tourism development, looking to reach 800 million tourists over the next decade. Ministers and delegates of APEC economies gathered in Macau to attend the eighth Tourism Ministerial Meeting.
• A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the largest order for Rolls-Royce cars to date, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort which is in the process of construction in Macau. Stephen Hung’s USD20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel in 2006.
• The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) revealed the design of the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (Delta Bridge). According to the relevant mainland authority, the infrastructure is slated for completion by the end of 2016, as previously scheduled.
• Hundreds of students and Macau citizens joined a sit-in protest on National Day at Friendship Square to show solidarity for Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement. Organizer Edwin Hoi told the media that their decision to support Hong Kong students is due to Occupy Central becoming “a global event,” with solidarity demonstrations having been held in about 63 cities across the globe.
• In a conference call to discuss the third-quarter results, Steve Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts, expressed his confusion about the political turmoil in Hong Kong and the smoking ban in Macau.
• “The new smoking regulations, the turmoil in Hong Kong in October, and of course, the aggressive policies of the central government about what appeared to be misconduct and corruption in the government (…) has had an impact on Macau in October, we all noticed it,” he told analysts.
• The Governor Nobre de Carvalho bridge – Macau’s oldest bridge connecting the peninsula to Taipa – has celebrated its 40th anniversary. It was first constructed as an initial step towards the integrated development of the territory.
•The New Macau Association hosted a “New Macau Forum” on campus at the University of Macau Hengqin, to discuss the influence of Hong Kong’s Occupy movement on Macau society.
• A fire which blazed through at a boutique near St Anthony’s Church has led to the deaths of four people. The victims were two workers from Indonesia (one man and a woman) and two Filipino nationals. Six people were living in the attic when the fire broke out. “It’s a small attic, very hot, with a very small window,” a witness told the Times.
• Improvement of traffic flow is among the top concerns of Macau citizens, as shown by a report released by the government’s Policy Research Office. The report is based on 111,246 opinions and suggestions that reached Chui Sai On’s campaign office in August.
• The remaining yellow taxis left Macau’s roads this month, due to the failure of the government and Vang Iek Radio Taxi Company to reach an agreement. While the company and the government were negotiating a possible renewal of the contract, Vang Iek’s request to introduce an additional fee for dial-a-cab services was rejected by Macau’s administration.
• Felix Rosenqvist won the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, despite initial upsets on the track.
• Manny Pacquiao knocked Chris Algieri down six times in an exemplary Macau performance that will once again inspire talk of a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
• The Macau Taxi passengers Association submitted a petition with 5,470 signatures to the Transport Bureau, urging the government to improve taxi services in the city and to reduce unlawful activities committed by Macau’s taxi drivers.
• The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) – whose traditional finale has been held at the Macau Grand Prix since 2005 – will not be returning to town next year, FIA announced.
• The Zhuhai-Macau Cross-Border Industrial Park checkpoint and the Lotus Bridge Cotai Frontier Post (connected to Hengqin) began round-the-clock operations.
• The fourth term of the Chief Executive and the governing body of Macau SAR was inaugurated on Dec 20. Chu Sai On was re-appointed and , new principal officials and Executive Councilors were all sworn in. Chinese President Xi Jinping administered the oath of office during a short visit to the region. “Macau’s economy has developed rapidly in the past years, but certain deep-seated problems have surfaced and development risks have built up,” Xi said at the new government’s inauguration. Macau should deepen its reforms and “push for a healthy economic and social development,” he said.