Judiciary Police (PJ) Director Chau Wai Kuong said Tuesday that once more casinos start operating in Cotai more PJ officers will be deployed to the PJ branch there, adding that a space in the branch has already been set aside to set up an office for the officers investigating gaming-related crimes.
Chau also said that in order to further combat money laundering the PJ would set up three sections soon, the main functions of which would include analysing international capital flows and strengthening co-operation with their counterparts in the mainland.
Chau made the remarks during an annual press conference by the PJ, at its headquarters in Zape.
During the conference which was jointly presided over by Chau and other PJ senior PJ officers including spokesmen Choi Iat Peng, Chan Kin Hong and Suen Kam Fai, last year’s crime statistics were revealed and analysed.
A total of 3,023 crimes were recorded by the PJ in the city’s casinos last year, a year-on-year increase of 16.3 percent. The number of reported cases involving people – usually gamblers defaulting on their gambling debts – being held against their will almost doubled to 74 last year. In 2013, the number stood at “just” 39. The number of reported loan-sharking cases rose 29 percent to 208.
Addressing the press conference, Chau said that the increase in the cases of casino-related false imprisonment and loan-sharking was possibly due to the gaming industry having entered a period of adjustment in the second half of last year. He said that as a consequence the PJ had strengthened its casino patrols.
“Once more casinos start operating [in Cotai]…more PJ officers need to be on duty there, and there should be an office located near the casinos in Cotai so that our colleagues in charge of [investigating] gaming-related crimes can work from there,” Chau said, adding that a space in the PJ branch in Cotai had already been set aside for the office.
Responding to the PJ officers’ rising workload, Chau said that the PJ will recruit about 45 more staff next year. He also said that the PJ currently had about 1,100 staff members, 640 of them detectives.
Chau also said that as some of the city’s border checkpoints have extended their opening hours since December, more PJ officers have been deployed to the checkpoints, adding that the police would keep a close eye on the problem of more local youths going to the mainland to take drugs there in the wake of the checkpoints’ extended opening hours.
He also said the PJ would soon set up a subsection which would investigate drug-related cases near the Barrier Gate checkpoint so that PJ officers can respond faster to such crimes.
According to the PJ figures released yesterday, the number of reported fraud cases rose 54.5 percent to 505 last year. Of the 505 cases, 375 were phone scams, almost triple that of 2013.
The number of reported Internet crime cases rose 33.7 percent to 452 last year. The PJ vowed to strengthen monitoring of the Internet to tackle online crime.
Last year’s crime statistics also showed the occurrence of just one homicide, the same number as in 2013, as well as 13 arson cases and one kidnapping.
Last year, the PJ transferred 148 foreigners to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for further investigations, down 16.3 percent year-on-year.
However, the number of mainlanders detained by the PJ last year increased from 1,757 in 2013 to 2,396 last year.(macaunews/macaupost)