The Macau Judiciary Police (PJ), in conjunction with their mainland counterparts, have busted a gang which had been illegally helping gamblers swipe their mainland UnionPay cards in Macau – using point-of-sale (POS) machines smuggled from the mainland, PJ spokesman Leng Kam Lon said during a special press conference Wednesday.
The gang illegally modified the POS machines so that they could be used in Macau, according to Leng.
The value of the illegal card-swiping amounted to 1.2 billion yuan (1.4 billion patacas) last year, which resulted in the card-issuing company incurring a loss of 2.4 million yuan in handling fees, according to Leng.
According to Leng, 21 mainlanders were arrested in Macau on Monday, while another 16 were arrested in various mainland cities on the same day.
The Judiciary Police launched an investigation into the illegal card-swiping gang in November last year after an exchange of intelligence with the mainland police, Leng said. PJ officers discovered that the gang run by mainlanders started to operate in 2016.
According to Leng, both the Macau and mainland police took action on Monday. In Macau, PJ officers arrested the 21 male and female mainlanders in eight luxury residential units in Taipa, where they seized various items such as modified POS machines, computers, record books, work guidelines, and HK$5 million in cash.
According to Leng, PJ officers then also went to a VIP room in a casino-hotel resort in Cotai, where they froze HK$25 million that the gang members had put into five of the VIP room’s accounts.
The mainland police arrested the 16 gang members in Beijing, Hebei, Hubei, Tianjin and Zhuhai, Leng said.
According to Leng, the gang had rented the eight Taipa residential units as workplaces and residences for its gang members.
The gang primarily looked for VIP gamblers in Macau as their potential clients and swiped their UnionPay cards to help the clients obtain cash by using the illegally-modified POS machines, according to Leng.
Leng said that the gang had a sophisticated structure for the work assignments of its members.
The 21 members arrested in Macau comprised the alleged kingpin, 10 key members, those tasked with soliciting clients, as well as drivers, and those conducting back office and support tasks, Leng said.