Macau records sharp increase in child abuse cases


Alarming statistic comes despite drop in overall crime rate in former Portuguese colony

Macau has seen a sharp increase in child sexual abuse in the first half of this year, according to the Office of the Macau Security Secretary. (Picture: Pixaby)

Posted: Aug 26, 2022 04:12 GMT

Updated: August 26, 2022 04:36 GMT

Macau has seen a sharp rise in child abuse cases while overall crime rates have plummeted, indicating the need to tackle social instability fueled by rising unemployment rates, according to a report.

Macao’s Office of Security Secretary released crime statistics for the first half of 2022 on August 25.

It recorded 17 cases of child sexual abuse compared to 19 cases for the whole of last year, according to a Portuguese-language newspaper End bridge reported. The rate is 70% higher than in 2021.

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During this period, 14 cases of rape were reported, compared to 16 cases for the whole of 2021.

Overall, Macau reported 15.8% fewer crimes with 4,983 criminal cases recorded in the first half of 2022.

Wong Sio Chak, Macau’s security secretary, said the drop in crime was due to reduced tourist numbers amid the pandemic and continued efforts by police forces.

“There is a continuous downward trend in other types of crime, especially due to the reduction in the number of tourists to Macau due to the epidemic situation of the new type of coronavirus,” Chak said.

He also highlighted the “continuous work to strengthen the prevention and fight against crime” put in place by the police.

The state agency also reported that violent crime cases were at a negligible level, indicating a very peaceful environment in Macao.

“As part of crimes of serious violence, kidnapping, murder and serious bodily harm, we continue to maintain a zero or very low rate,” the agency said in a statement.

“Several societal conflicts will inevitably escalate”

The report also said that an increase in the unemployment rate did not have “a significant negative impact on societal safety, particularly in crimes directly related to gambling.”

However, the report warns of the impact that the steadily rising unemployment rate will have on the region’s security and stability.

If the unemployment rate continues, “various conflicts in society will inevitably escalate, which will inevitably bring more instability factors to Macao’s overall security.”

The unemployment rate in Macau was 3.7% from April to June 2022, compared to 2.9% during the same period in 2021.

Macau, dubbed “the Las Vegas of the East” for its sparkling gambling and gambling industry, is a special administrative region of China. It was a Portuguese colony from 1557 until its handover to China in 1999.

With approximately 21,000 people per square kilometer on a 33 square kilometer island, Macau is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

Macau has about 30,000 Catholics out of an estimated population of 700,000.

The multimillion-dollar gambling industry, estimated to be seven times the size of Las Vegas, is Macau’s main source of income and has been hardest hit after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Borders have reopened and casinos are now open for business. Macau officials have said they expect an influx of tourists to revive and stabilize its struggling economy.

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