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Q1: Crime rate up 2.7pct, drug cases surge by 70pct
The overall crime rate in Macau rose slightly by 2.7 percent during the first quarter, or 85 cases more than the same period last year. Drug trafficking cases surged by an alarming 70.3 percent, which does not include the 55kg of cocaine that was seized earlier this month, which sets the city’s new record in drug seizure.
The Secretary for Security, Cheong Kuoc Va, announced the update of the crime statistics last Friday. During the press conference he said that crime cases totaled 3,236 in the first 3 months of this year, representing a slight increase of 2.7 percent compared with the same period in 2012, resulting in the arrest of 1,112 people.
In regard to the more noteworthy categories, the official said among the 3,236 cases, those categorized under “violent crime” totaled 182, representing an increase of just one case in comparison with the same period last year. Cheong argued that this number proves that Macau remains a safe city.”The violent crime rate remained low…we see that the safety condition of Macau remains stable, “ said Cheong.
But the senario is completely different in regards to drug trafficking and selling, which totaled 63 cases in the first three months of this year. The Secretary said it shows that Macau is being used as a trafficking hub and he promised to strengthen measures to combat drug related crimes. “With internationalization, Macau has given visa exemption for most visitors, who can easily get visas right at the ferry terminal or at the airport. This facilitates the inflow of visitors, and the coming of more tourists from Southeast Asia. To combat trafficking, the police have contacted their counterparts in other countries or other regions in order to get more information,” he said. “The sharing of information allows us to know how drugs are trafficked and we can identify the suspects when they enter the territory.”
Cheong noted that the authorities have also invested in the purchase of equipment, such as, X-ray machines, which detect transport of drugs. For the other categories, there are 1,961 cases of crime against property (theft and robbery), representing a growth of 7.5 per cent (136 + cases) compared to the same period last year.
Concerning juvenile delinquency, Cheong Kuok Va said that in the first three months of the year there were 12 crimes committed by juveniles, representing a decrease of 42.9 percent (-9 cases) compared to the same period last year, and that these 12 offenses involved 17 under aged youths. As the summer holidays get closer, the police are reinforcing efforts to ensure a secure environment for young people and to prevent them from encountering potentially dangerous situations.
The head of the security forces was also challenged by the media for the alleged “double-standard” in treating petitioners during the Labor Day protest, in which a civil group who is believed to be pro-government was allowed to congregate some 200 people outside the government headquarters to hand in their petitions, while other groups had to go into a separate protest zone before a few representatives were allowed to get close to the building to submit their peititon letters.
Cheong, however, would not directly comment, instead he said individual petitioners have referred the case to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and he would not comment before an investigation result was announced.
Advisor urges for compulsory drug rehabilitation
The Central District Advisory Committee for Community Services has pushed for the implementation of compulsory drug rehabilitation for recently reported drug using cases among Macau youths.
A high school student was found smoking ketamine in a school washroom last week. His teacher called the police after noting symptoms of drug use on him in class, according to Macao Daily News.
Mok Wai Seng, a member of the Central District Advisory Committee for Community Services, urged the government to respond to the community’s demand for compulsory drug rehabilitation. He indicated that drug rehabilitation is an important part of anti-drug work, yet in Macau the steps for drug treatment are mainly on a voluntary basis.
Mok indicated that the reasons why drug-related cases of juveniles have occurred frequently over recent years is because at present Macau’s laws and penalties towards drug abuse are “lenient, as drug addicts will be given only suspended sentenses or fines”. Families with working-couples and parents working on shifts are becoming more common, which leads to a lack of parental supervision.
Lao Chin Soi, the director of the Smart-
Youth, Christian New Life Fellowship in Macau, made reference to the “ostrich policy” that allegedly exists in many schools. He said that in order to avoid affecting its reputation, a school may persuade the drug-using student to drop out, instead of providing proper counseling to the student. As such, the student will have difficulty returning into society. Lao suggested that schools reinforce its coorperation with school social workers and social service groups in terms of prevention and intervention.
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