150 Arrested in Macau Gambling Raid
More than 150 individuals have been arrested in raids in casinos and hotels throughout the area of Macau. Known for its large gambling businesses and organizations, often being touted as the ‘Las Vegas of China,’ the Macau region has been a source of concern for Chinese officials over the course of the last few years. The raids came following a recent outbreak of violence and gang warfare in Macau, which authorities have linked to the gambling network. A total of 1300 people were questioned in what was dubbed “Operation Thunderbolt 2012” that authorities carried out throughout China. There has been no source that names any of the businesses or organizations that were involved in the raid, any administration does not seem keen to answer this question.
A number of murders broke out in recent months, with many left worrying that the Chinese territory could return to the huge amount of violence that the region was known for in the late 1990s. During this time, it was known as a hot spot for gang warfare including various mafia organizations, the triads, and a number of other smaller gangs. The violence in the late 1990s included a slew of assassinations and killings, as well as a few car bombings as the gangs were battling for the VIP rooms within the casinos.
It is clear that China has reinvigorated their efforts at resolving the issues of crime throughout Macau, an area that has been a great source of revenue for China and for the residents of the region. The area can be reached by ferry, and is about an hour north west of Hong Kong. As of right now, it is the only region within China in which gambling is legal, which is maybe that hot tourist attraction and hotspot crime. The area was once ruled by organized crime, but efforts in the late 90s were able to quell the violence, and make Macau a popular tourist region once again.
During the mid-to-late 1990s, Macau was under Portugal ruled. It was returned to Chinese rule only 1999, when Portugal seemingly became overburdened with the rise in heinous violence in the region. At the time, Macau was the world’s largest gambling market, even bringing in moreprofits than Las Vegas. Since that time, revenue and grow throughout the region has fallen off significantly, but still continues to be a huge source of revenue as the Chinese economy comes to a slowdown.
A number of companies operate throughout the region including the Las Vegas Sands Corp., the MGM, and Wynn companies. It is clear that this most recent violence, is something that the country would like to put a stop to, in an effort to protect the large amount of revenue that the area generates. Allowing the region to fall back into the late 1990s crime and violence, would almost surely put a stop to tourist visits, and would make foreigners very reluctant to visit the region as well.