The total number of crimes reported in the first half of this year dropped 2.8 per cent year-on-year to 6,920, but the number of violent crimes rose 8.4 per cent, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said on Tuesday.
Wong announced the city’s crime statistics for the first six months of the year during a press conference at the S. Francisco Barracks on Tuesday. The Macau Public Security Forces are headquartered at Macau’s erstwhile Portuguese garrison barracks.
Wong said that the major kinds of crimes declined in the first half of this year and that Macau’s security situation in remains stable.
Wong pointed out that 323 violent crime cases were recorded in the first six months of the year, rising by 8.4 per cent year-on-year. He said that the rise in violent crime cases was mainly due to a 17 per cent increase in false imprisonment cases and 77 per cent rise in rape cases.
The number of reported rape cases increased 77 per cent year-on-year from 13 to 23, according to Wong, adding that most of the victims met the suspects through social media or in or near casinos.
Two murder cases were reported between January and June, Wong said, adding that although the police quickly solved the two cases, they evoked the police forces’ special concerns about the negative impact by unlicensed money changers and prostitution rackets.
Wong pointed out that during the first six months of the year the police strengthened their efforts in combating loan-sharking and false imprisonment crimes and busted many criminal gangs involved in the two types of crime.
Wong noted that most of the suspects and victims involved in loan-sharking and false imprisonment cases in the first half of this year were not local residents. In the reported false imprisonment cases, 98.6 per cent of the suspects and all the victims were non-locals, while in the loan-sharking cases, 94.6 per cent of the suspects and 98.6 per cent of the victims were not local residents, he said.
Meanwhile, drug trafficking cases dropped by 4.8 per cent to 59 reported cases year-on-year, but the number of Hong Kong people involved in the drug cases has risen.
According to Wong, the number of reported cyber scam cases rose 43.1 per cent year-on year to 146, adding that the rise in credit card fraud related to online consumption was the most obvious.
“Online consumption is becoming more and more convenient nowadays, resulting in the increased use of credit cards to pay but the citizens’ awareness of cybercrime and the protection of personal data still need to be improved,” Wong underlined.
According to previous media reports, an unidentified individual planned to hold an assembly against alleged police violence in Hong Kong in Largo do Senado on August 19. The Public Security Police (PSP) then announced that they had decided not to allow the assembly and said that they made the decision in line with the local Assembly and Demonstration Law, as the planned assembly “aimed to express support for the ongoing illegal acts by violent protestors” in the neighbouring special administrative region.
Wong said that the gathering’s purpose was to oppose the alleged use of excessive force by the Hong Kong police, adding that so far the Hong Kong authorities have not confirmed or determined that the police have used excessive force.
“The theme of the [planned] gathering was the [alleged] abuse of rights, and this seemed to being defamatory and itself violated Macau’s Penal Code,” Wong said.
Wong pointed out: “Some evidence could prove that some people still illegally gathered on that day, and the police also received reliable information that a group planned to organise dozens of people to go to the city’s main square [Largo do Senado] to oppose the illegal gathering. So the Public Security Police (PSP) and Judiciary Police (PJ) deployed additional police officers there on that night,” Wong said.
According to Wong, PSP officers took seven people in for further questioning on that night. Wong pointed out that all of them had left the police station within six hours, in accordance with the law.
“The police were completely fair and just without any discriminatory treatment having been carried out, they properly prevented an illegal gathering and successfully solved possible conflicts on that night,” Wong insisted.
Meanwhile, Wong said that two Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) students who displayed posters on Monday in support of Hong Kong’s protesters on the institute’s Taipa campus held an illegal assembly.
The police were called to the campus after the two students began holding a protest in front of the tertiary education institution’s main door without having notified the police in advance, according to Wong, adding that the two students had quickly left the campus before the police arrived. However, Wong said that the police were not considering taking action against the duo since they were young and might not know the law.
Wong said that anyone who plans to protest in a public area has to notify the police at least three working days in advance. He said that holding an illegal protest is punishable by up to two years behind bars.
According to the Macau Posts, Wong underlined that the incident provided an example to inform the public about the legal requirements for holding an assembly and the risk of committing a crime by organising an illegal protest.