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Phone scams, drug cases surge in 2013

Overall reported crime last year in Macau recorded a 7.9 percent increase, with drug-trafficking rising 80.5 percent and the number of reported phone scam cases reaching 108, as opposed to only one in 2012. Secretary for Security Cheong Kuoc Va presented last year’s crime statistics at a press conference Thursday in the Sao Francisco Barracks. […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:51 am

Overall reported crime last year in Macau recorded a 7.9 percent increase, with drug-trafficking rising 80.5 percent and the number of reported phone scam cases reaching 108, as opposed to only one in 2012.

Secretary for Security Cheong Kuoc Va presented last year’s crime statistics at a press conference Thursday in the Sao Francisco Barracks. Security Forces Co-ordination Office Director Cheang Seng Chio and Cheong’s advisor Sam Chong Nin were also present.

According to Cheong, there were a total of 13,685 reported crimes last year, a rise of 7.9 percent. Drug-trafficking cases recorded an increase of 80.5 percent, from 128 in 2012 to 231 last year. He said that the increase in drug crimes was partially due to a more proactive approach by the police in busting more cases, adding that the police would keep exchanging information with other jurisdiction in their fight against cross-border drug trafficking.

There were two homicide cases last year, one case less than in 2012, Cheong said.

According to Cheong, there was a surge in false imprisonment cases, up from 86 in 2012 to 150 last year, a 74.4 percent rise.

Both the number of reported cases of robbery and theft recorded a decline last year over 2012, while reported pick-pocketing cases rose by 11.2 percent, from 1,252 in 2012 to 1,392 last year.

According to Cheong, there was also a surge in both fraud and extortion cases last year. Compared to 2012, the former recorded a 42.9 percent increase (590 to 843) while the latter rose by 52.3 percent (44 to 67) last year.

Cheong also said, according to The Macau Post Daily, that the significant increase in fraud cases was largely due to the number of reported phone scam cases rising to 108 last year from just one case in 2012, adding that most of them were in the form of “guess who!”.

According to police, in the “guess who!” scam the victim receives a call in which someone asks them to guess who they are. After the victim gives the name of a friend or relative the criminal pretends to be that person. After calling a few more times the culprits tell the victim that they need to borrow money because of an emergency situation.

Cheong also said that the large increase in extortion cases was largely due to a big rise in online naked chat blackmail cases. “Among the 67 cases of extortion, naked chat cases were 30 of them”, said Cheong, adding that “Naked chats are becoming more prevalent … there was also [a rise] of such cases in cities around [ Macau ]”.

Cheong said that in response to the rise of phone scams and online naked chat blackmail, the Judiciary Police (PJ) had been putting more effort into investigating and advising residents to be wary of the two kinds of crimes.

Cheong also said that the another major reason for the rise in fraud cases last year was that there was also a large increase in computer scams and online scams, with some 200 cases reported last year among the 843 fraud cases, adding that these cases were primarily about the theft of ATM card and credit card information.(macaunews)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:51 am

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