The Judiciary Police in Macau arrested 8 suspects Saturday for alleged participation in people-smuggling operations, a Monday morning special press conference of the Judiciary Police in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) outlined. 5 other suspects were arrested in Zhuhai in the joint operation of the Judiciary Police, Macau Customs Service and the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau (PSB).
People Smuggling Gang Bust
Macau’s Judicial Police spokesman Chan Wun Man informed the press that the local police received intelligence from the Public Security Bureau in Zhuhai, that an organized group was using speedboats to smuggle people into Macau for gambling purposes.
One of the suspects is a 31-year-old local resident and casino worker, who was alleged as a member of the gang dealing with the smuggling operations, together with a 34-year-old jobless overstayer and a 65-year-old female illegal immigrant from the mainland. Another 3 people were caught by the police, having arrived illegally in a speedboat arranged by the organization, with 2 more being arrested at the flat of the 34-year-old jobless male identified as Duan.
Macau police placed Duan under surveillance Saturday night and managed to follow him to the vicinity of Ká Hó Lighthouse in Coloane, where there was a speedboat at the nearby waterfront. Duan and the three illegal immigrants in the speedboat were arrested at the moment of contact, but the speedboat managed to get away during the chase undertaken by customs officers.
In Zhuhai, police officers continued the joint operation throughout the weekend, arresting 5 other male, all aged between 30 and 51, suspected members of the same people-smuggling gang, including its alleged kingpin and speedboat skipper who escaped from the Macau customs officers.
The casino worker who the police identified as Un was tasked with picking up in a vehicle arriving immigrants, while the 65-year-old female identified as Ai was running an illegal inn at Duan’s place. For the illegal accommodation business, the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) was notified by the police, which arrested Ai there with three other immigrants, two of which confessed they entered the SAR to play in local casinos while at the same time avoid epidemic prevention measures of the two neighbouring cities.
The Guangdong province recently removed the mandatory 14-day quarantine for Macau arrivals, but people willing to travel would still have to show a virus test certificate.
The Judiciary Police told reporters the gang was operative for nearly a month, smuggling people from Zhuhai into Macau, charging between 22,000 yuan ($3,142) to 30,000 yuan ($4,285) for each person.
Duan, Un and Ai have been detain and face charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration and belonging to a criminal organization, while the 5 illegal immigrants will be returned to the mainland.