Chinese gamblers in Macau are now working with smugglers to circumvent COVID-19 movement-related restrictions in the Mainland and Macau, based on reports by local police.

This past Monday, the Judiciary police in Macau stated that they had arrested eight persons involved in aquatic smuggling rings that have been ferrying gamblers from the Mainland to casinos in Macau and back without passing through official channels.

A spokesperson for the Judiciary Police stated that the smuggling outfit and its boats had operated for a full month charging rats between US$3,140 and $4,280 per person for the trip. The sum includes accommodation once the gamblers reach Macau because registering with a local hotel would draw attention.

One of the culprits confessed to the crime, informing authorities that the reason for the trips was to gamble but still avoid COVID-19 related restrictions on either end of the trip.

The Guangdong province eases its quarantine measures for persons returning from Macau. However, authorities are yet to resume giving permits under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVs) or allowing package tours.

Plus, the government of Macau is not in negotiations with the Mainland about resuming the issuance of IVS. It’s only recently that Mainland tour groups were allowed movement between provinces. Still, it will be a while before there is progress regarding allowing them to get out of the Mainland.


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