Online shopping fraud cases increased 44.4 per cent year-on-year to 65 from January to June in Macao, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak has reported.
In response to the increase in the number of online shopping-related fraud cases, the police have been updating the public, through both new media and traditional media, about the latest modus operandi.
In the first six months of this year, Macao’s law enforcement agencies recorded 4,983 suspected crimes, a year-on-year decrease of 15.8 per cent.
“Macao’s public security landscape remained good and stable in the first half of this year. The number of most types of crimes saw a decrease compared to the same period last year, particularly computer crimes whose number saw an obvious drop,” police said.
The number of reported computer crimes dropped 82.7 per cent year-on-year to 107 cases in the first half of this year, or 510 fewer cases than in the same period of last year.
The “huge” decrease in computer crime shows that “tailor-made” measures that have been rolled out by the police have been “significantly” effective, officers said.
The number of reported violent crimes fell 35.7 per cent year-on-year to 83 cases in the first half of this year.
The police recorded 13 arson cases in the first half of this year, 11 fewer cases than in the same period of last year, or a 45.8 per cent year-on-year reduction.
Five robberies were reported in the first six months of this year, 11 fewer cases than in the same period of last year, representing a 68.8 per cent year-on-year drop.
Fourteen rape cases were reported in the first six months of the year, two cases down from last year’s corresponding period. However, the number of reported child sexual abuse cases increased 70 per cent year-on-year to 17 in the first half of this year, or seven cases more in the same period of last year.
Moreover, four cases of sex (such as vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex) with a minor aged at least 14 but under 16 were reported in the first six months of the year, the same as last year’s corresponding period.
One homicide case involving two victims was recorded in the first half of this year.
The homicide was reported in early May, when two mainland Chinese women were found to have been murdered in a hotel guestroom in Cotai. The mainland Chinese suspect returned to mainland China shortly after the killing, and Macao police identified him through their citywide CCTV camera system and reported the case to their mainland counterparts. The suspect was arrested in a town in Huaihua city in Hunan province later the same month.
Nevertheless, police reaffirmed that very few serious violent crimes such as kidnapping, causing grievous bodily harm, and homicide were reported during the first half of this year.
Some 28 drug-selling cases were reported in the first half of this year, 11 cases down from the same period of last year, or a 28.2 per cent year-on-year reduction.
The total number of reported fraud cases dropped 2.8 per cent year-on-year to 648 in the first half of this year, or down by 19 cases.
Fraud cases involving online romance and those involving online investment saw a more significant year-on-year decrease in the first six months of the year, when 17 cases and 36 cases were reported respectively, representing a year-on-year drop of 37 per cent and 33.3 per cent.
Moreover, police also said that 57 extortion cases were reported in the first six months of this year, nine cases up from last year’s corresponding period, or an 18.8 per cent year-on-year increase. Blackmail involving online naked chats accounted for the highest percentage of the total number of reported extortion cases in the first half of this year, when 34 online-naked-chat blackmail cases were reported, representing 59.6 per cent of all reported extortion cases.
Many students have become victims of online-naked-chat blackmail cases in recent months.
Meanwhile, Wong said that while Macao’s unemployment rate among local residents has been constantly increasing due to the ongoing adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the local economy – 4.5 per cent in the first quarter and 4.8 per cent in the second quarter, the total number of reported crimes has been dropping during the period. Consequently, he said, the police have concluded that so far the ongoing rise in the unemployment rate has had no significant impact on the city’s public security.
However, he warned that if Macao’s unemployment rate continued to rise, various types of social contradictions might intensify, which would result in more types of unstable factors that could adversely affect Macao’s public security landscape.
Macao’s number of gaming-related crimes increased to 361 cases in the first half of last year from 213 cases in 2020’s corresponding period, but dropped again to 198 cases in the first six months of this year.
Since early this year, various areas in mainland China, as well as Macao, have been hard hit by successive Omicron outbreaks, resulting in a year-on-year decrease in the number of visitor arrivals to Macao in the first half of this year, The Macau Post Daily reported.