The number of reported robbery cases rose 27.8 percent year on year, from 18 to 23, in the first quarter of this year, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak announced Monday.
Wong described the increase in reported robbery cases as “noticeable”.
Wong also said that the number of recorded violent crime cases fell 24.1 percent year on year, from 191 to 145, in the first quarter. Macau’s top security official revealed the figures during a press conference at the S. Francisco Barracks : about the January-March crime statistics.
According to Wong, the total number of crimes reported in the first quarter slightly rose 1.7 percent year on year (an increase of | 59 cases), from 3,488 to 3,547. Wong said ! that the rise in the total number of reported crimes was mainly attributable to an increase j in theft and fraud cases.
According to Wong, the police recorded 889 theft cases in the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 10.2 percent (a rise of 82 cases). Among the 889 reported theft cases, 447 were pickpocketing cases, which saw a ! 34.2 percent increase from the same period of last year when 333 such cases were recorded.
Among the 889 theft cases reported during the first three months, 20 burglaries I in residential units were recorded, 12 cases more than in the corresponding period last year, according to Wong.
Wong said that the police investigated 231 fraud cases in the first quarter of this | year, a year-on-year increase of 5.5 percent (a rise of 12 cases), 28 of which were telephone scam cases (an increase of six).
Among the 28 reported telephone fraud | cases, 21 were about fraudsters pretending to I be officers of law enforcement agencies in Macau or the mainland, Wong said.
Wong also said that the police investigated i 384 suspected gaming-related crimes
between January and March, a decrease of 9.4 percent year-on-year.
Wong said that the police recorded 107 loan-sharking cases in the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 20.2 percent (a rise of 18), 102 of which were casino loansharking cases.
According to Wong, the police also investigated 61 suspected cases of false imprisonment during the first three months, a year-on-year decline of 41.9 percent (a decrease of 44 cases), 59 cases of which involved loan sharks. Gamblers defaulting on their instant gambling debts are sometimes falsely imprisoned by loan sharks to put pressure on the victims’ family and friends to pay up.
Wong noted that most of the suspects and victims involved in loan-sharking cases and false imprisonment cases in the first quarter were not local residents.
According to The Macau Post Daily Wong said that the police recorded 35 drugselling cases during the first quarter, eight cases
less than in the same period last year.
No murder cases were recorded during the first quarter, Wong said. The police recorded 16 arson cases in the three-month period, one case more than in the same period last year, Wong said, adding that 12 of the cases have meanwhile been solved.
Among the 16 recorded arson cases, three were caused by still lit cigarette ends, while four were caused by children playing with fire, Wong said.
Wong noted that none of the 16 reported arson cases involved triad gangs, and neither were they gaming-related.
According to the detailed crime statistics for the first quarter released on the website of Wong’s office, three cases of child sex abuse were recorded, one case down year on year, while six rape cases were reported, one case up.
Wong also said that the police recorded 1,878 cases involving suspected regulatory breaches by taxi drivers during the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 45.5
percent (a rise of 587 cases). Some 63.5 percent of the cases concerned overcharging. The police also recorded 47 cases of illegal taxi services by private cars.
Wong also said that the police would put special emphasis on tackling unlicensed money-changing activities on the premises or the margins of local casinos.
According to previous news reports, scores of illegal money changers routinely walk around casinos asking gamblers if they want to exchange currency, mostly yuan and Hong Kong dollars, offering them seemingly attractive exchange rates.
The police have previously said that as money changers merely violate the city’s financial business rules, the police are unable to pursue their cases as criminal offences.
According to previous news reports, if a police investigation shows that a non-local money changer has not been involved in any criminal activities, he or she is simply deported. Most illegal money changers are said to be mainlanders.
In the wake of a fight involving around 10 men outside the Venetian – captured on video which was widely circulated online – that occurred early this month, the police subsequently launched a five-day operation to combat unlicensed money-changing and other illegal activities on the premises or the margins of casino-hotel resorts on the peninsula and in Cotai.
During the five-day operation from May 4 to 8, the police arrested 226 people – 191 men and 35 women – for illegally engaging in currency-exchange activities.
Wong also said, that while the fight outside the Venetian early this month was I an isolated case, the police paid a great deal of attention to the matter. He said that in response the Unitary Police Service (SPU) oversaw the Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Public Security Police (PSP) when they carried out the five-day operation.