Macau Player’s Unpaid Gambling Debts Lead to a Tragic End

May 10th, 2019 2.00pm

Gambling debts are often referred to as “debts of honour”, however, integrity is not the only thing that you can lose should you fail to pay what you owe. After being held captive and beaten over the course of 48 hours, an unnamed Macau man succumbed to his injuries and met an untimely end at the age of 40.

One of the Killers Confessed to His Crime

A Macau boarding house was turned into the grizzly scene of an unusually cruel crime, where three loan sharks decided to teach one unfortunate debtor a lesson and recover the money that they’d previously lent him. According to the police reports, the man was beaten to death after losing HKD50,000 (£4,863) in various Macau casinos.

The agony lasted for two days, during which the trio gagged and physically assaulted the victim, all the while recording the gruesome act with their phones. The video was later sent to the man’s family, in an attempt to extort money.

The confession of one of the suspects has led to the arrest of the other two accomplices (age between 29 and 34), who were located in Macau’s Outer Harbour district. The account of the crime, provided by Leng Kam Lon, Macau Judiciary Police spokesperson, is quite disturbing, providing us with a graphic insight into the victim’s last hours.

“His three creditors have, several times, used their belts and slippers to beat him in order to force him to repay the debt. They did a video shooting of their beating process using their cell phones and sent the video clip to the victim’s family, hurrying them to repay the debt”. Lon also added that the victim was restrained and gagged, which prevented him from calling for help.

The Suspects Are Facing a 15-Year Prison Sentence

According to Macau laws, aggravated kidnapping which leads to death carries up to 15-year prison sentence. The suspects – currently in custody – are linked to a gambling-related crime organization and have had clashes with the law before. One of the suspects was even deported from Macau last year, after being associated with illegal money-loaning activities. He once again managed to cross the border illegally in March 2019.

The three men are also confirmed to be engaged in so-called tip-hustling (providing information on how to beat a baccarat table) and soliciting players to follow them to presumably illicit gambling locations.

Is There a History of Violence in Macau Casinos?

Unfortunately, this is not the only incident that compromised the glamorous scene of Macau gambling. As the only part of China that legalizes gambling, the volume of casino traffic is massive, attracting different profiles of players – recreational, high-rollers, and, sadly, those who are down on their luck, looking for a quick way out of trouble. The consequences can be dire, especially when caught in a whirl of losing streaks. This is where the loan sharks come in…

Only last year, a 41-year-old man was found stabbed to death in his hotel room, however, the details were not disclosed to the public. Around that time, the Secretary for Security revealed startling information about the sudden rise of loan shark linked incidents – in 2018, gambling-related offences rose by 25.9%.

How Will This Latest Killing Affect the Casino Operators?

The high crime rate is anything but good for business, and Macau casino operators are pessimistic in their predictions of their weekly or even monthly revenues. Profit is already in decline and violent outbursts, such as this one, are expected to negatively affect the proceeds.

At the moment, the casinos rely on high rollers to keep them above the water, but the growing crime wave threatens to engulf them all.



The Glamorous Facade of Macau Gambling