The Macau Customs Service will upgrade its equipment and introduce new technology to enhance security on the sea, the Customs Service said in a statement Monday.
The statement said that the enforcement body would introduce technology such as infrared thermography to keep activities in Macau’s coastal waters under surveillance.
The local Customs Service also doubles as the city’s coast guard.
The waters under Macau’s jurisdiction cover 85 square kilometres, according to an order by the central government in 2015. Prior to the order, Macau had no jurisdiction over its coastal waters. Before the 1999 change in administration, Chinese authorities had steadfastly refused to sign a border agreement with Portugal concerning Macau’s land and sea borders.
Meanwhile, the statement noted that the Customs Service last year recorded 118 illegal immigration cases, seizing 30 boats and 286 illegal immigrants, including 37 “snakeheads”.
“Snakehead” is a Cantonese slang term for people smugglers.
According to The Macau Post Daily a total of 68 people were transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) due to their illegal entry last year.
According to the statement, in the first three months of this year, the Customs Service recorded 26 cases, in which 10 boats and 49 illegal immigrants, including 11 “snakeheads”, were involved.