China’s Ministry of Public Security is intensifying efforts to eradicate ‘money exchange gangs’ that are operating in Macau and tapping into the region’s thriving gambling economy. 

Following a string of meetings by the department, last week it took a period of reflection and looked to analyse what is and isn’t working when it comes to its strategy for tackling illicit behaviours. 

In spite of many challenges when it comes to tackling the gangs and honing in on fraudulent behaviour, there had been reported success in the group’s approach as the police director emphasised a decline in the number of illegal crimes involving money exchange gangs.

He added that “The Judiciary Police will actively cooperate with the mainland public security authorities in special operations to rectify the illegal activities of money changers at the source”.

Moving forward the ministry described its approach as ‘high pressure’ as the region’s authorities seek a collaborative approach when it comes to tackling gangs and money laundering.

In one of the more specific efforts to combat illegal activity in Macau, a total of 93 people were arrested following an investigation into an illegal gambling operation in Macau, Hong Kong and the Guangdong Province.

According to a report by government officials, the operation took place across a host of major casino locations in Macau. 

Furthermore, the operation has been in place since 2016, as law officials remained poised until the most effective moment to ensure they could counter and arrest those responsible for the illegal syndicate.

There was also an illegal gaming and casino operation pursued by the group, which operated in Macau and was taken down by law officials amidst the investigation.

It was also detailed that there was cross-border collaboration as a result of the illegal operation, with a customs official being one of the suspects arrested. 

The investigation and arrests come following stark warnings from the Chinese government over the usage of overseas betting operations and casinos. 

Furthermore, there were also increased efforts from China and South Korea to bolster their connection in the battle against cross-border gambling. 

It was reported by the Chinese media platform, People’s Daily, that law officials from both nations met to discuss the next steps in enhancing the way law is upheld in the region and ensuring that collaboration continues in the battle against illicit gambling. 

At the heart of the challenge will be the innovation in methods for detecting and combating cross border gambling between the two East Asian countries. 

It builds on continued efforts from China to halt cross border gambling – having previously elevated its approach in the Philippines and Sri Lanka to bolster security efforts. 

Published on WeChat, China’s Philippines embassy emphasised that gambling by Chinese citizens in casinos overseas is still considered illegal.