Security Secretary: Crime prevention collective effort across the community
Government Information Bureau
2024-02-28 20:44
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The Secretary for Security, Mr Wong Sio Chak, today said Macao’s full-year 2023 crime-case statistics as recorded by the police were higher than 2022’s but lower than in 2019, a period before the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a press briefing to announce the full-year 2023 crime figures and enforcement statistics, Mr Wong said a significant decrease in violent crime had been recorded compared to 2019, and most other types of crime saw varying degrees of decline compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

In the 12 months of 2023, the police had recorded a total of 13,487 crime cases, a 37.6-percent increase – or 3,688 more – than in 2022. Compared to full-year 2019, the 2023 number saw a drop of 4.9 percent, or 691 fewer cases.

Nonetheless, there had been a noticeable increase in the number of telecommunications-fraud and extortion cases, noted Mr Wong. The police would continue to make every effort to combat related crimes and conduct more targeted promotional and educational campaigns.

It required collective participation of the entire society in crime prevention efforts. It was crucial for members of the public to raise their awareness of crime prevention, constantly pay attention to various anti-fraud messages, and remain highly vigilant in order to protect their personal rights and safety of property.

In order either to prevent or combat such crimes, the authorities upgraded the “Fraud Prevention Joint Taskforce” so that it became the “Anti-Fraud Coordination Centre” last year. There had been continuous improvement in the three-tier response mechanism involving “prevention”, “enforcement”, and “recovery”. In terms of recovery, the police, in collaboration with the banking industry and neighbouring law-enforcement departments, continued to implement measures to block remittances to suspicious parties, including via emergency suspension of payment. Throughout 2023, more than 500 cases of payment had been successfully prevented, involving an amount exceeding 130 million patacas.

In terms of domestic violence, there were 129 suspected cases registered throughout the year. After investigation, 15 of them were confirmed as such. The remaining reports mainly involved matters such as causing bodily harm, intimidation, and family disputes. Another 23 cases were still under investigation. Mr Wong added that domestic violence was a complex social issue, and victims and their family members required varied forms of support and assistance from a variety of sources.

In 2023, reported crimes against the person showed a year-on-year increase of 4.9 percent, or 105 extra cases more, at 2,262 cases. Relative to 2019, there was an 8.8-percent reduction, or 218 fewer cases.

There were 270 violent crimes reported to the police during 2023, up 76.5 percent year-on-year, i.e., 117 extra cases. Relative to 2019, there was a 59.9-percent drop, i.e., 403 fewer cases.

In order to maintain the security environment in Macao, the security authorities had continued the “Winter Shield” and “Thunderstorm” operations last year either to prevent or combat various types of crime. During those operations, the police and customs officials conducted over 2,900 patrols, with more than 32,000 instances of officer involvement. Over 1,500 suspects were referred for judiciary processing for possible violations of criminal laws.

Regarding the assessment of the likely impact of Macao’s gaming industry situation currently on the city’s security outlook, Mr Wong stated that the authorities closely monitored various factors capable of contributing to instability, as well as potential security risks. The total number of gaming-related crimes in 2023 had increased compared to 2022, which was believed to be linked to the increase in tourists and the recovery in business volumes of the gaming industry. However, the number of gaming-related crimes in 2023 was still significantly lower than in 2019, prior to the pandemic, reflecting the effectiveness of the police’s preventive and enforcement efforts.

The Secretary also pointed out the current year would see several major events, including the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region, and the election for the sixth-term Chief Executive.

The security authorities would continue “intelligence-led” law enforcement and “proactive policing”. The police would keep assessing various security risks, remain highly vigilant for potential sources of instability, and make timely adjustments to law enforcement deployments. Further effort would be made to prevent and combat all types of illegal activity, to ensure the smooth conduct of major events and celebrations and to fully safeguard prosperity, stability, life and property security within society, added Mr Wong.

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