Money exchange gangs pose a threat to region’s security

Wong Sio Chak

The Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, presented the crime statistics for the first nine months of 2018 yesterday. At the press conference, the secretary noted that money exchange gangs “have already posed a direct threat to Macau’s security.”

In October, the Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Public Security Police Force (PSP) conducted 20 and 21 actions respectively. More than 881 people (412 related to money exchange) were taken to the police station for investigation. 

In the first nine months, fraud registered significant growth, with 871 cases this year compared to 169 cases during the same period in 2017, representing an increase of 24.1 percent.

The number of phone scams in the first nine months of 2018 is lower than 2016 and 2017, with a total of 98 phone scams being registered. In 2017, there were 120 cases.

In 46 of the phone scams, criminals pretended to be from mainland government departments. This also occurred in 105 cases in the first nine months of 2017,

Around 50 phone scams relating to calls asking “guess who I am” were registered in 2018, 36 more than in 2016.

Upon calling the victims, criminals of “guess who I am” normally call the victim’s name directly, and because of this, people fall victims to the scams.

The police authority also reported a significant increase in theft cases on buses and public streets.

In the first nine months of 2018, there were 189 pickpocketing cases recorded in public streets, an increase of 45 cases against 144 cases in the same period of 2017.

There were 205 pickpocketing cases recorded in public buses, an increase of 73 cases against the same period of 2017.

The crime of usury registered a growth as well with 403 cases, representing 85 more compared to the first nine months of 2017.

Wong believes that the increase is due to the police authority taking initiatives to investigate relevant crimes.

The police authority detected 45 cases of document forgery, 38.8 percent more compared to that of 2017.

In addition, the PJ requested non-local internet registration companies or server hosting companies to block 237 websites involving scams related to Macau’s casinos.

Around 130 websites have ceased operation.

4,600 taxi infractions recorded

Authorities have recorded 4,600 taxi infractions so far this year. There were 819 more cases than last year, representing a 21.7 percent increase. The infractions include 2,480 cases (61.7 percent) of over-charging and 1,013 cases (22 percent) of taxi drivers refusing to accept passengers.

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