Arson and gambling-related crimes on the rise

Chau Wai Kuong

Over the past year, Macau has registered very little growth and even declined in many areas of crime. Gambling- related kidnappings are the main exception to this downturn and arson has registered a significant hike over the past twelve months, the director of the Judiciary Police (PJ) Chau Wai Kuong relayed yesterday while presenting the yearly review of crime rates.

According to Chau, the police force registered an increase of about 9 percent in the total number of police processes opened, in comparison with the previous year, noting that the crime rate of violent crimes such as homicide, serious assaults, kidnapping (non-related to gambling) and organized crime, “remained low with a number of occurrences close to zero.”

For the 12-month period ending May 2017, the number of kidnapping (523) and loan sharking (413) cases related to the gaming industry rose by 20 percent and 6 percent respectively, compared to the prior 12-month period.

The number of cases related to drug trafficking and drug consumption also surged by around 13 percent.

The area of crime that registered the most dramatic change in the statistics was arson; the number of cases related to arson registered 150 percent growth, year-on-year (from 18 to 45 cases).

On the topic, Chau remarked, “most of the cases were solved,” noting, “many of them were due to negligence [cigarette ends poorly discarded]”.

In his opening speech during the celebrations of the PJ Day, Chau also reviewed the major cases resolved in the last 12 months, namely the ones related to drug trafficking, where he said the cooperation between police forces from Macau, Hong Kong and Zhuhai are becoming more and more decisive.

Highlighted as one of the challenges for the force, cybercrimes have been growing and becoming more complex and hard to trace. Chau noted, “the PJ, under the leadership of its immediate superiors, will participate actively in the creation of the center for cyber security and do its best regarding its preliminary works.”

On the sidelines of the event and replying to questions from media, the PJ director said, “we are doing preparatory works in terms of legislation.” He emphasized that although the infrastructure is already in place, “only after the legislative works conclude, is it  possible to start the operations of this [Cyber Security] center.” He continued by saying the center has promised to be vigilant and alert to “cases of dangerous communication” on the internet.

Chau also remarked that the police force is reinforcing collaboration with school institutions during the school holidays period to tackle cases of students’ “drug consumption” during the school break.

In the ceremony, a total of 128 merit awards were awarded, 11 of them for exceptional merit as well as 15 other group and team awards to the officers and departments that performed to the highest level during the past year.

Officer involved in scheme to be fired

A Judiciary Police (PJ) officer is set to be fired by the police force, the Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak revealed. It was found that the officer was involved in a swindle scheme back in 2015, when he and his girlfriend defrauded 320 mainland workers, accepting money from them on the pretense of helping them to find a job in Macau. “After analysis of the case by our juridical department, we have decided to dismiss this officer,” Wong said Noting that the police have already provided information on the case Wong said that “the officer still has an opportunity to present an appeal [regarding the decision].” The officer and his girlfriend are accused of unlawfully making a profit of approximately MOP1.5 million from the victims.

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