2017 Year In Review: Chronology


Thousands of citizens demonstrated against the government’s proposed fee hike for several services related to the Transport Bureau, especially those concerning vehicle removal and deposits when caught in violation of parking laws.

Former Prosecutor-General Ho Chio Meng continued to deny all charges laid against him during several court sessions held at the Court of Final Appeal. One of those sessions addressed the charges related to money laundering and false declarations of assets. Ho admitted to having made a “mistake” in failing to declare at least one of his bank accounts.

Uber Macau presented a review of 2016, stating that the average estimated vehicle arrival time decreased from 8.1 minutes at the beginning of 2016 to 4.4 minutes at the end of the year. According to Uber Macau’s data, riders from 385 cities have taken an Uber ride in the territory. The company’s general manager Trasy Lou Walsh (pictured) revealed talks with the government to achieve service legalization.

At the Legislative Assembly plenary, the director of the Labor Affairs Bureau, Wong Chi Hong, unveiled plans to raise the proportion of residents working in management positions in the gaming industry. Wong said that casino executives should be 85 percent from Macau at the end of the year.


Packed hotels during the Chinese New Year holiday helped the world’s largest gambling market as it emerged from a two-year slump. The gaming industry is in the process of reinventing itself with more family-friendly resorts and attractions to draw recreational spenders and casual gamblers.

The government’s plan to reduce the number of two-stroke engine vehicles in Macau hoped to gain the attention of owners of “about 30 percent of the total number of vehicles.” The Environmental Protection Bureau announced a plan that aimed to remove a total of 9,575 two-wheel vehicles that run on two-stroke engines from the region’s roads.

The Legislative Assembly election, held in September, would have a bigger budget, Electoral Affairs Commission president Tong Hio Fong said after the commission’s first meetingin February. Tong suggested that an increase of 20 percent in comparison to the last election in 2013

Kim Jong Nam, the older brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was attacked by two women at Kuala Lumpur’s airport and died on the way to the hospital. Kim was waiting for a flight to Macau. Starting from around 2001, he spent most of his time living quietly in Macau with his immediate family.


The Tourist Police, a new force operating under the Public Security Police Force (PSP), commenced operations. In addition to the current duties of PSP officers, the force performs tourist support duties such as assisting with tourists’ inquiries, dealing with complaints and disputes involving tourists, and implementing crowd control measures.

A group of architects and concerned locals joined an online petition to halt the planned demolition of around a dozen shipyards in Coloane’s Lai Chi Vun district.  Conducted due to governmental concerns over the sites’ safety,  the controversial demolitions prompted both cultural authorities and influential members of the public to intervene before they were halted .

The candidate favored by China’s Communist leadership was chosen as Hong Kong’s new leader, in the first such vote since huge pro-democracy protests erupted over the city’s election system in 2014. A committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites selected Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong government’s former No. 2 official, as the financial hub’s chief executive.

The Commission Against Corruption released a new report highlighting several unlawful hiring practices at the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC). The report was issued just weeks after a leadership change at the IC, in which former president Ung Vai Meng quit unexpectedly and was replaced by Leung Hio Ming, one of the bureau’s former vice presidents.

The United Kingdom filed for divorce from the European Union, overturning four decades of integration with its neighbors, demolishing the notion that EU expansion is inevitable and shaking the foundations of a bloc that is facing challenges to its identity. During the year, the consequences of this decision to EU-Macau bilateral relations were widely debated


The Chief Executive said he is against any attempt by lawmakers to change the Land Law to accommodate the interests of private developers who claim that the non-development of land was due to the government’s inaction.

Kenneth Leung, a Hong Kong lawmaker representing the Accountancy Functional Constituency, was denied entry into Macau. The denial was deemed unreasonable and bizarre, as he had just visited mainland China a few days prior.

Former New Macau Association leader Jason Chao announced the launch of his new election monitoring project, titled “Project Just Macau”. The purpose of the project was to serve as a secure communication channel for residents to submit information and complaints on the Legislative Assembly elections.

A study on the gambling activities of Hong Kong residents showed that Macau’s integrated resorts were the second choice for inhabitants of the neighboring SAR, with their first preference being casino ships.


The detailed results of the 2016 population by-census were released, showing accelerated population growth, coupled with continuous population aging over the past five years. The elderly population aged 65 and above increased to 59,383, a substantial growth of 48.6 percent five years ago.

The government announces that it will require facial recognition and identification card checks at ATMs before Chinese UnionPay cardholders can withdraw cash, a stepped-up measure to curb money laundering in Macau. Holders of China UnionPay cards issued by banks in China must show mainland identification cards and have their identities verified through a facial recognition system for ATM cash withdrawals.

The Commission of Audit issued a report heavily criticizing the roadworks’ coordination. The report specifically addresses the years of 2014 and 2015, noting that the number of complaints was very high due to several disruptions and hassles provoked by the frequent roadworks across the region.

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress and the official responsible for overseeing Hong Kong and Macau affairs, said that patriotism is a key aspect of Macau development’s during his visit to the territory.


Local authorities announced plans to enhance casino security following an attack on a Manila casino hotel. A meeting was held between local authorities and representatives of gaming operators to discuss how to react to severe safety incidents. The meeting occurred after an attack on Resorts World Manila where 37 patrons and employees died.

Vasco Fong resigned from the Office for Personal Data Protection’s coordinator post. Fong’s resignation was submitted to the chief executive due to “personal reasons.” He had been leading the privacy watchdog since December 2014

Crown Resorts said its staff held in China were charged with gambling-related offenses, the most significant development in the case since the employees were rounded up by mainland authorities in October 2016.

Activist Scott Chiang was barred from entering Hong Kong and was forced to return on a ferry to Macau, after an immigration officer in the neighboring SAR told him that he had failed to meet the requirements for entry. Chiang claimed that the decision is linked to the visit of President Xi Jinping this week on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover.


Lawmaker Chan Meng Kam announced that he will not be a candidate in the Legislative Assembly direct election. Amid speculation regarding his possible appointment to the AL, Chan also confirmed that he would not become a lawmaker appointed by the Chief Executive. “If I am a lawmaker, I will become a directly elected lawmaker. Why should I be appointed by the government?” questioned Chan.

A Macau billionaire who wanted to build a United Nations center in Macau was convicted of paying more than USD1.7 million in bribes to U.N. ambassadors to get it done. The verdict was returned after a day of deliberations in Manhattan federal court against Ng Lap Seng, who was convicted of bribery, conspiracy and money laundering charges.

The region’s former top prosecutor, Ho Chio Meng, would be convicted and sentenced to 21 years in jail, leaving the court pleading for an appeal. The Court of Final Appeal also ruled that Ho was liable to pay a large compensation to the Office of the Prosecutor General and around MOP12 million of his assets would be reverted to the administration.

A United Nations agency under the purview of UNESCO criticized the MSAR government over its handling of the preservation of the Historic Center of Macau. A World Heritage Site since 2005, the Historic Center of Macau was also one of the topics under discussion at the 41st session of the World Heritage Group in Poland.


Candidates and political analysts were criticizing the Electoral Affairs Commission for creating confusion between the definitions of “propaganda activities” and the rights of candidates to inform the public of their agenda

The Macau government and the Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online marketplace, announced the formation of a strategic partnership, under which the MSAR will employ Alibaba’s big data processing capabilities and cloud computing technology to enhance its public services. The agreement aims to further Macau’s objective of becoming a smart city – a vision formalized in the introduction of Macau’s first Five-Year Development Plan.

Lawmakers refused to grant the discretionary power to the chief executive to amend the rental adjustment rate during the article-by article analysis of a rental control mechanism. Nine lawmakers had proposed the establishment of a rate based on a coefficient set by the chief executive according to factors like the consumer price index and housing market conditions.

The sentences of nine defendants related to the case of the city’s top former prosecutor, Ho Chio Meng, were read at the Court of First Instance. Six defendants were found guilty, including Ho’s wife, brother and other relatives.

Super-typhoon Hato struck Macau on the morning of August 23, leaving behind a trail of destruction and killing 10 people. Immediately after the typhoon struck, a water crisis occured which saw much of the city left without a stable water supply. Following criticism from residents and lawmakers regarding the bureau’s failure to raise typhoon signals to an appropriate level, the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau head, Fong Soi Kun, has resigned.


Typhoon Hato’s passage through Macau caused damage amounting to MOP11.5 billion, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong revealed. According to figures based on an initial estimation by the Statistics and Census Service, “there are many indirect losses related to suspension of activity, operations and break in sales.

Mak Soi Kun was the most voted candidate in the Legislative Assembly elections. Mak got 17,207 votes and his Macau-Guangdong Union managed to elect a second lawmaker, Zheng Anting. The other winner of the night was the pan-democrat side, with members and former members of the New Macau Association electing three lawmakers, namely Au Kam San and Ng Kuok Cheong, both veterans at the AL, and newcomer Sulu Sou. Pereira Coutinho kept his lawmaker post with 14,383 votes, but failed to see his number two, Leong Veng Chai, elected.

The director of the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA), Raymond Tam, was appointed as the new interim director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau. Commenting on the fact that Tam does not have an academic background in weather related issues, the chief executive Chui Sai On said that there will be technicians at the SMG to support him. Chui praised Tam’s managerial capabilities and said that his name was proposed as the new head of the DSPA by the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário.

Activist and pro-democrat Jason Chao said that he, along with other pro-democrat election candidates, received notifications from social media, email, and instant messaging service providers, including an alert from Google, about unauthorized login attempts. In a press conference, the activist said that Google warned them that “government hackers” may be trying to steal their passwords.


The Times revealed first-hand that indirectly-elected lawmaker Chui Sai Cheong, brother of the Chief Executive, would be elected as vice-president of the Legislative Assembly when the new legislature convened for the first time. Ho Iat Seng was re-elected as president of the parliament.

Las Vegas Sands announced it would spend USD1.1 billion renovating its properties in Macau, including turning Sands Cotai Central into a London-themed resort. The property will be rebranded as the Londoner Macao and feature attractions tied to some of the English capital’s most recognizable landmarks, the company said in a statement.

The Commission Against Corruption issued an investigation report on the Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau’s typhoon forecasting procedures. The report states that the bureau, when making typhoon forecasts and issuing warning signals for tropical cyclones, relied on the personal judgments and decisions of then-director Fong Soi Kun.

The 20th anniversary edition of the Lusofonia Festival broke attendance records. After four days of events and performances on and off stage, the conclusion was unanimous among several of the regular faces: this year’s festival had attracted more people.


Macau, alongside seven other cities around the world, was officially designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy by the director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. With this designation, Macau has become the third Chinese city to hold the prestigious position, joining Chengdu and Shunde, who had this title conferred upon them in 2010 and 2014 respectively.

As the new round of applications for public housing began, thousands rushed to the Housing Bureau headquarters queuing up for their turn to collect the forms and instruction leaflets that were being distributed. Large queues occurred despite the Bureau saying that there was no need to rush to collect the forms.

The Chief Executive, Chui Sai On, went to the Legislative Assembly to present the government’s Policy Address for 2018. The increase in welfare support was the main topic of his presentation. During the debate with lawmakers, Chui’s responsibility in the aftermath of Typhoon Hato was questioned.

Starting at the eighth position from the starting grid, British driver Daniel Ticktum was not one of the favorites to win the F3 race. Yet he won against all expectations after race leaders Sérgio Sette Câmara and Ferdinand Habsburg crashed out at the final corner. The Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix was marred by the death of rider Daniel Hegarty (pictured).

The Transport Bureau proposed new licensing to regulate the pre-booked transportation of passengers in light vehicles, taking into account an expected spike in traffic upon the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.


Felix and Eunice Kirwa were the great winners of this year’s edition of the Macau International Marathon. The brother and sister won in both male and female categories, running the 42.195km respectively in 2:10:01 and 2:29:12, with both breaking course records.

Macau was included in a blacklist of 17 countries and regions which the  European Union says are tax havens. The countries and regions included could potentially face sanctions for failing to bring their standards in line with the bloc, as the EU seeks to further step up its fight against opaque practices that facilitate tax avoidance by multinationals and individuals.

The Legislative Assembly has voted for the suspension of lawmaker Sulu Sou, allowing the continuation of the pending prosecution against him over alleged misconduct during a demonstration on May 15, 2016. Sou was charged last month for aggravated disobedience to the police authorities.

The 2nd International Film Festival and Awards Macao was held, screening more than 40 Asian and international films at the Macao Cultural Center. It opened with a regional premiere of family film “Paddington 2”, followed by various competition segments and a star-studded ambassador line-up.

Categories Macau