Mass Arrests in Macau Following Police Raids
On Monday police in Macau announced that they have arrested 150 people during raids on casinos and hotels after a series of murders brought back memories of the gaming destination’s violent history.
According to police spokesman Chong Su-pong, during an operation codenamed “Thunderbolt 2012” which ran last Friday almost 1,300 people questioned and 150 detained. The operation was a result of three unsolved murders and an attack on a casino hotel boss.
Chong said that it was a joint operation between the Macau, Hong Kong and Chinese police and that a suspect in a Hong Kong murder was among those in custody.
Macau, on the border of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong and an hour by ferry away from Hong Kong, is the only place in China where casinos are legal. When Macau was returned by the Portuguese to Chinese rule in 1999 the extremely high levels of violence dropped and the city became the world’s most lucrative gambling market overtaking the Las Vegas strip.
Fears have arisen recently of a return to gang warfare and violence after six people armed with hammers assaulted Ng Man-sun, an investor at the Greek Mythology Casino, in late June. Man-sun remains in hospital with serious injuries and is under continual protection. This attack was followed by the murder of a Chinese woman at a residential area close to a casino and the killing of two Chinese men at a five-star casino.
According to Hong Kong police last week 21 locations were raided in the Asian financial centre as part of operation “Thunderbolt 2012”. During the raids 130 people were arrested on suspicion of money laundering, illegal gambling and prostitution. Large amount of property was also seized including cash, cars, watches and other valuables.