New operation to suppress money laundering in Macau casinos

A fresh operation against money laundering in Macau casinos was launched on Friday last week and brought immediate results.

The Judiciary Police, responsible for dealing with casino crime, arrested 12 individuals on Saturday in downtown Macau under suspicion of providing illicit money exchange services, with two of them detained. A similar operation was run on Tuesday in the Cotai casino district.

The Judiciary Police’s Mr Chan Chong, speaking at a press briefing, said: “Following a series of combating operations since the beginning of this year, we haven’t really seen that these activities have got more acute.”

This summer saw well-publicised operations on money laundering sweep Macau, with the Cotai district being the focal point. The issue was made a priority by Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, who noted in May that the city’s police forces were tackling the trend.

Macau’s problem with money laundering has gone through widespread reporting and, as tourism and gaming form the backbone of the island’s economy, officials are pursuing investigations and revisions to legislation.

Chan said: “We’ve always been paying close attention to illegal money exchange services and the crimes that stem from it. We will continue to observe the criminal trend and combat these activities.”