Judiciary Police (PJ) have cracked down on eight local shops that operate illegal cash withdrawal services via modified POS (point of sale) terminals, local broadcaster TDM Radio News reported.
These eight shops are primarily located in the ZAPE district on the Peninsula and Taipa Island.
In addition, the action, taken in collaboration with the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM), uncovered an underground factory in one Taipa store that modifies the terminals. Police believe the store had sold its modified terminals to other shops that engaged in the illegal activities.
During the search of the stores, the PJ seized a large number of swiped card receipts as well as HK$7.5 million (US$967,224). Meanwhile, 23 we arrested during the raid, nine of whom are local residents, with the oldest aged 85. Of the arrested, 12 are male and 11 female, while three were directors of stores and 10 were engaged in hustling chips in casinos.
According to JP Morgan, the tampered terminals fake the location of transaction as ‘domestic’ in order to avoid paying overseas charges and foreign transaction fees to UnionPay.
But analysts of the brokerage said in a note yesterday following announcement of the case that it is “nothing much to read”, explaining that the crackdown has nothing to do with the UnionPay transactions at shops using proper terminals.
JP Morgan analysts added that numerous ongoing crackdowns involving illegal UnionPay operations have been the norm for the past two years, pointing out that the latest case is no different to other previous investigations.
Update on Coutinho brothers
Yesterday, the PJ gave further details of the drug-dealing case involving the two sons of directly elected legislator José Pereira Coutinho. The brothers were arrested on December 21 whilst collecting a parcel in central. The PJ said yesterday that the parcel contained one kilogram of cannabis. In addition, the two are believed to have obtained five kilograms of cannabis via the same method prior to their arrest while the cannabis could have been sold in local nightclubs for some MOP2.5 million.