Macau’s Judiciary Police are intending to collaborate with local casino security and surveillance units to tackle illegal currency exchange activities with a “tailored” approach. The issue was persistent inside or near Macau’s gaming establishments, notably before the Covid-19 outbreak.
An online update from the Judiciary Police on Wednesday stated, “Following the adjustments of Macau’s [Covid-19] pandemic control measures, the number of inbound visitors has surged in recent days and benefits the recovery of Macau’s economy. But that definitely comes with an uptick in security risks.”
The majority of bets at Macau casinos are made in Hong Kong dollars, but a large number of patrons come from the Chinese mainland, which places restrictions on the amount of yuan that may be carried by them across the border on each trip.
Illegal money changers offer not just a better exchange rate than the one offered by authorised providers but also a service to handle unauthorized cross-border transactions. Moreover, the money changers occasionally distribute counterfeit currency or so-called “bank training notes” to unwary tourists, as per local authorities.
The Judiciary Police also held meetings regarding the issue with three of the biggest casino operators in Macau, namely, Sands China Ltd, SJM Resorts Ltd, and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, as reported by GGRAsia.
Around 40 persons from the security or casino operations departments, respectively, attended the meetings held on January 12, 13 and 16 to discuss a way to tackle the issue.
In response to the risk of illicit money exchange, the police force suggested forming a joint “task force” and warn guests about the dangers of dealing with unauthorized money changers. The police is also planning to create leaflet and film campaigns to distribute inside and outside of venues.
A preventative strategy, according to the police, is necessary because such illegal conduct not only has the potential to result in “vast economic losses,” but also lead to “severe” crimes, including robbery and even murder.
More than 250 crimes were registered as “gaming-related” in the first nine months of the previous year as per the most recent data from the Judiciary Police. In all, 2899 individuals were “intercepted” that were connected to illegal money exchange activities related to the gaming industry. The number has come down drastically from a year earlier by 55.4 percent.