Public Security Ministry stresses nationwide crackdown on currency exchange gangs

2024-06-05 03:17     BY Yuki Lei    Comment:2

The mainland’s public security forces have been strengthening their cooperation and coordination with the local police to crack down on currency exchange gangs, according to a statement by the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing.

The ministry released a statement on its website on Monday, saying that the nation’s public security forces held a meeting in Beijing on May 27 regarding “special deployment” measures on combating “illegal currency exchange gangs” and other crimes.

The statement did not say who attended the meeting.

During the meeting the forces were ordered to enhance their joint mechanisms, strengthen cooperation and coordination, and implement various work measures, with the aim of cracking down together on crimes in general and busting illegal currency exchange gangs in particular so as to achieve new results in their anti-crime crackdowns.

The one-day meeting, according to the statement, pointed out that in recent years, currency exchange gangs have been rapidly expanding in size and seriously affected the stability of local public security by illegally providing individuals or organisations with large cash exchange and loan-sharking services in Macau, leading to violence, fraud, theft, people smuggling, and other crimes.

The public security forces anywhere in the mainland, the statement quoted the meeting as saying, should earnestly enhance their sense of responsibility and urgency, strike with an iron fist, take multiple measures, strengthen cooperation with the Macau police, launch a vigorous offensive against currency exchange gangs and other crimes by uncovering the gangs’ structures, the kingpins behind the scenes and the channels of funding, swiftly setting up an iron-fisted and high-pressure approach towards cracking down on fraudulent crimes, making all-out efforts to detect cases involving practice banknotes and forged transfer records, while resolutely eradicating the “black and grey” industrial chains providing support services for the currency exchange gangs.

The meeting, according to the statement, pointed out the importance of a synergy of efforts, underlining the necessity for the public security forces anywhere in the country to strengthen their communication and coordination, improve their crime-fighting cooperation mechanisms, strengthen crime-related notification procedures and the transfer of criminal cases, as well as reinforce cooperation in evidence gathering, in addition to joint operations.

In addition, the statement said, the meeting also highlighted the need to take into account local realities, and to strengthen the identification of possible suspects and checkpoint inspection and control measures, as well as to target the original sources of the gangs, so as to resolutely curb the development and spread of related crimes.

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak has recently said that the “syndication and professionalisation” of illegal currency exchange dealers operating on the fringes of the local gaming industry have become even more apparent in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic than before, noting that in the first quarter of this year, among the various types of crimes committed by illegal currency exchange dealers the most significant type was fraud, with a total of 149 cases, representing an increase of 112 and 107 cases compared with the first quarters of 2023 and pre-pandemic 2019 respectively, with most of them mainly involving the fraudulent use of practice banknotes and remittances, followed by ruses such as delayed transfers or forged transfer certificates. 

This undated handout photo released in February this year shows Judiciary Police (PJ) officers questioning a person of interest in a local casino while investigating illegal currency exchange activities on the fringes of Macau’s gaming industry.

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