The rising number of cases of illegal loan-sharking forced Macau police to promise to dedicate more efforts to cleaning up the streets. And the latest numbers suggest that they did just that and that it worked as the second quarter reports show that the growth of unlawful loan-sharking is slowing down.
Loan-Sharking Is a Widespread Problem in Macau
The reason that the police force has pinpointed illegal loan-sharking is that it often stands at the beginning of other crimes as well because the criminals will resort to any means to get their money. Cutting down the loan-sharking activities may thus also lead to the decrease in kidnappings or false imprisonments.
Wong Sio Chak, Secretary for Security in Macau, was pleased to announce that their new initiative has worked, bringing the criminal activity in the region down in the second quarter of 2019. Even though some areas, such as unlawful detention, still turned out to be higher than last year, they have marked a significant improvement compared to the first quarter of the year.
Speaking of unlawful detention, the first half has seen 169 cases, which is 17.4% more than during the same period last year. Of these, 166 were related to loan sharks. That represents a 23% growth, however, splitting it into individual quarters showed that while the first quarter recorded a year-on-year increase of 37.3%, the second quarter only went up 11.8% compared to the previous year.
Loan-sharking itself is a similar story. During the first half of 2019, there were 295 cases of loan-sharking activity connected to gambling, i.e. 16.1% more than in the first six months of 2018. Again though, when broken down into separate quarters, the second quarter turned out much better with year-on-year growth of only 9.9%, whereas the first quarter exceeded last year by considerably larger 25.5%.
Wong Commended Police Work and Plans to Stay Vigilant
Since the first quarter Macau police has been taking more precautions to prevent loan-sharking, and has been cooperating with other authorities to spread a tighter net over those involved in criminal activities. Wong Sio Chak, who was the one who promised the police would increase its efforts to make the region more secure, believes that it was the additional measures that helped limit the crime rate.
“The police forces have continuously patrolled and combated against these two types of gaming-related crimes, and we’ve accomplished some effective results,” he stated.
Except for bigger patrols in an around casinos, the police also established close communication with Macau’s gaming regulator, Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. A list had been put together of names which should be blacklisted due to the suspicion of being involved in illegal operations.
While the diminished crime rate gave some reason for optimism, Wong is fully aware that their work is not over as the city will need more protection in the second half of the year.
“Macau’s security condition may see more uncertainties as several celebrations and large-scale events are drawing near in the second half of this year, with more visitors coming here. In face of this the police forces will maintain a high alert to casino-related security issues, and reinforce our collaborations with Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau as well as the gaming industry to prevent and fight crimes.”