A total of 3,006 crimes were recorded by police in the first quarter of this year, driven by an increase in phone and Internet scams. The total crime statistics represents a year-on-year rise of more than 17 percent, but a nearly 11 percent drop compared to the same quarter in 2019 – the last year before the pandemic.
In announcing the statistics at a press conference yesterday, Wong Sio Chak, the security secretary, suggested that the yearly spike was inevitable given the lifting of pandemic restrictions and increased movement of people.
He said that 435 fraud cases were reported to the police in the first quarter of this year. The number was higher than the corresponding periods both last year and in 2019.
[See more: Police warn of potential crime surge in Macao]
According to a report in Macau Post Daily, local police, in collaboration with their mainland Chinese counterparts, stopped 168 suspicious remittances, involving over 54 million patacas, in the first three months of 2023.
Unsurprisingly, gaming-related crimes increased as people flocked back to the territory’s casinos. Wong told media that 158 such cases were reported during the quarter, a year-on-year increase of more than 24 percent, but still considerably less than the 280 cases recorded in the same period in 2019.
Police meanwhile recorded 572 crimes against persons in the first three months of this year – a negligible year-on-year increase of just over 2 percent. There were 62 violent crimes reported, up more than 44 percent year on year, but nearly 61 percent down from the same period in 2019. One homicide was recorded during the quarter.