Macau Crime

The number of crimes recorded in the first quarter of this year saw a slight increase of 8.6% compared with the same quarter last year, with serious assaults down by 55.6% while robbery and theft up by 34%.

Releasing the crime statistics for the first quarter of 2008 at a press conference today, the Secretary for Security, Mr Cheong Kuok Va, said police would continue to fight crime with effective measures.

The total number of crimes recorded in the first quarter stood at 3,345, an increase of 8.6%. However, the number of serious assaults, intimidation, blackmail, forgery and transferring counterfeit money cases plummeted between 23.6% and 55.6%.

The number of violent crimes went up by 13.6%, with arson up 157.1%. Cases of snatching and theft increased by 34.3% and 34.2%, drug trafficking by 55.6% and drug abuse by 31.1%.

Juvenile crimes remained about the same, with an increase of one case, to 40, with 90 young people having been involved in crimes.

In the same period the police have arrested 982 people and transferred them to the Public Prosecutions Office.

They also caught 19,199 illegal immigrants and overstayers in the same period.

Ao Man Long Tells Macau Court He Did Receive Bribes

The former secretary for transport and public works, and now is serving a 27-year jail sentence for serious corruption charges, admitted yesterday to having received money from companies including Seng Meng Fai.

Ao was a witness in his family’s trial and rejected claims that his relatives and wife had knowledge of what the former secretary was doing. Ao also told the court his family did what he asked without ever questioning him or the activities involving grand sums of money and offshore accounts.

The court repeatedly heard how the former secretary’s family trusted Ao and his decisions.

However, Ao confessed to receiving large sums of money, but said it had not been in the way described in the indictment against him.

The payments were made in increments for services provided to those companies, however they did not affect the outcome or the process of the public tenders and winning bidders, the court heard.

The court also heard that Ho Meng Fai had made payments to bank accounts under Ao’s family members’ names, but were managed by the former secretary. The money was not related to bribery nor was it related to corruption, Ao told the court.

The money was “simply” for services Ecoline, one of Ao’s shell companies, had carried out, the former secretary said, adding that for the Dome, Ho Meng Fai had sought services from Ecoline to contact a projects concession company from the mainland.

The court heard that this was an example of the types of services Ecoline carried out.

Ao also said that this time, unlike previously, he was telling the truth. But he was unable to itemise all the works where such services and payments were made, saying that the prosecution would have to ask the deceased Lee Se Chong, who had all the companies’ contacts.

The court also heard that Ao had only had access to Ecoline in 2006 after the  manager Lee Se Chong died.

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Will Shopping Malls In Macau Work

Here are snippets as reported by outlining the poor performance of shopping malls in China. Surely this is going to affect as well and must send off warning bells to the developers planning shopping center here. is China after all and most of the rules apply here as 60% of the visitors are mainland Chinese.

The world’s largest shopping center looked almost deserted on a recent afternoon. While schoolchildren rode the sidewinder and roller coaster, there were few shoppers and fewer tenants at South China Mall in central Dongguan, a city of six million north of Hong Kong.

A walk around the mall’s 220 palm-tree-lined acres takes a visitor past an indoor amusement park, replicas of seven cities including Venice, Milan and Amsterdam, an 85-foot, or 25 meter, model of the Arc de Triomphe and a 1.3-mile, or 2.1 kilometer, artificial river with gondolas for hire. There is retail space for 1,500 stores in the 89-hectare mall, only a handful of which are leased.

The mall’s developers expected to attract 100,000 visitors a day, the number that it would take to keep its vast shopping areas from looking deserted, according to Ian Thomas. His firm, Thomas Consultants in Vancouver, British Columbia, helped with leasing and marketing. Instead, more than a year after it opened, the mall gets about 10,000 a day, said a spokeswoman for the mall, Joanne Zhu. That leaves its open-air pedestrian streets almost empty.

“The mall is going through a development stage now,” said Grace Liu, a public-relations officer for the mall. “Its current performance doesn’t mean it won’t do well later.”

The crowd on a recent day seemed to consist primarily of teenagers there for the rides or to socialize. There were a few workers on lunch break at the McDonald’s and KFC restaurants.

“It’s Disneyland and Las Vegas come to China,” Thomas said. After his firm signed on in 2004 to assist with the mall’s marketing, he realized that even this manufacturing hub, one of China’s richest cities, could not support a retailing behemoth.

“They rushed to build and open it,” he said. “They honestly thought that by building it, they would come.”

Huang Xiaoyan was treating herself to a burger and fries at McDonald’s, but said she would not be spending money on anything else. “I’m just here to meet friends, not to shop,” said Huang, 29.

Huang’s frugality exemplifies the challenge facing Chinese officials as they seek to quicken the pace of consumer spending relative to investment and exports. China’s economy now is “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable,” Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said last month in Beijing.

Private consumption in China accounts for just 35 percent of gross domestic product, about half the share in the United States.

The Chinese save about half their income. Job-cutting at state-owned companies, which once provided lifetime employment and benefits, has eroded income security. An inadequate social safety net requires Chinese to save for retirement, health care and their children’s education.

Chinese reluctance to spend and eagerness to save is the opposite of attitudes in the United States. While the savings rate in China is the highest of all major economies, the U.S. rate is negative. Until spending and savings patterns in China and the United States change, trade imbalances will grow worse, according to officials.

Over the last few years, hundreds of malls have popped up across China, which now claims seven of the world’s 20 largest centers. Two of those, Oriental Plaza in Foshan and Grandview Mall in Guangzhou, are within 50 miles of South China Mall.

South China Mall’s 9.6 million square feet, or 892,000 square meters, makes it more than twice the size of the biggest U.S. shopping center, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

South China Mall has no Gap, Banana Republic, H&M or other staples of a typical American or European mall. The few stores open are primarily from Asian chains.

Away from the few stores and restaurants near the entrance, the mall’s three levels of retail space are a ghost town.

The one store with customers spending money is a SPAR supermarket, part of the Amsterdam-based SPAR International. The store appears to account for the majority of shoppers spending money at the mall. Most load up with groceries and leave, never venturing further to take in the sights of Paris, Milan or Hollywood.

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Macau Government To Overhaul Labour Law

The is long overdue as labour shortages in are pressing and the only way to solve it, is by allowing more imported labour!

The Executive Council had just completed discussions on a bill aimed at overhauling labour laws that have been in effect for the past 18 years.

The bill, to replace the existing Labour Relations Law (Decree-Law No. 24/89/M), will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly for further study.

The bill is a result of lengthy discussions within the Standing Council on Social Concerted Action and taken into account the views of employers and labour association representatives.

The bill contained proposals to better protect both employers and employees. For example, maternity leave would go up from 35 to 56 days; workers who quit their job must give more notice than the present seven days.

The bill also clarified the rights and obligations for part-time workers, domestic workers and contracted workers, and stipulated compensations for overtime working, working on public and mandatory holidays, as well as allowances for midnight working and shift-taking.

Meanwhile, the Executive Council had received a Bill on regulating the employment of imported labour and would start to review it soon, spokesman for the Council, Mr Tong Chi Kin, said at a press conference today.

He said the Council had also completed discussing a By-Law that would transfer the Labour Affairs Bureau’s function on dealing with imported labour applications to an office to be established to enhance efficiency.

Macau Population Now 513427 People

The resident population of at the end of 2006 was calculated to be 513,427 people, or 5.8 percent (29,150 people) more than at the end of 2005, the region’s Statistics and Census Bureau said.

According to the published statistics, 50.8 percent of residents were female, 14.7 percent were up to 14 years of age, 78.3 percent were aged between 15 and 64 and 7 percent were over 65.

In 2006 a total of 2,800 immigrants arrived in from the Chinese mainland of which 72.9 percent were female and 65.6 percent were from Guangdong province, which borders and Hong Kong.

At the end of 2006, 64,673 non-resident workers were registered in the region, or 25,262 more than at the end of 2005.