Apr 20, 2016

    Macau's security head to serve in gaming committee


    MACAU'S top official in charge of security in the world's largest casino hub has been appointed a member of the local gaming commission as the authorities further strengthen supervision and control in the southern Chinese territory.

    Wong Sio Chak, Macau's secretary for security, was appointed this month, according to the official Macau gazette.

    It comes at a time when casino revenues have slumped to lows not seen in five years and casino operators are struggling to boost visits of big spenders.

    As casino revenues have spiralled for 22 months in a row, gaming-related crimes in Macau increased by 38 per cent last year due to large increases in loansharking and false imprisonment.

    "It seems there is a connection with security problems," said a security bureau spokesman. "He should be part of it. That is understandable."

    Prior to Mr Wong's appointment, a representative from the security body was a member of the committee.

    Macau's government is undertaking a review of the gaming industry and has requested large swathes of information from licensed operators.

    Lionel Leong, Macau's secretary for economy and finance, said the review would be submitted to Beijing before the end of this year, according to the local media.

    The central government has been hardening calls for Macau to diversify, due to an acute reliance on the casino industry which contributes to over 80 per cent of government revenues.

    Casino operators have responded by spending billions on large-scale projects with features such as a mock Eiffel Tower, adventure rides and entertainment venues.