‘Thunderbolt 17’ nets hundreds of criminals

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The Unitary Police Service holds a press conference to announce results of the anti-triad operation codenamed Thunderbolt 17. Source: IBS

‘Thunderbolt 17’, a joint operation between police authorities from the MSAR, Guangdong and Hong Kong, has led to the prosecution of 1,782 people in Macau involved in a total of 1,293 crimes.
The large police operation took place throughout a 97-day period between March 5 and June 10 of this year, combining the efforts of the Public Security Police Force (PSP) and the Judiciary Police (PJ), co-ordinated by the Unitary Police Service (SPU).
The joint operation this year saw an increase of 65 per cent and a 57 per cent in prosecutions and crime cases detected, respectively, when compared to the same operation held last year.
“The increase was due to the larger amount of mobilised police officers and searches conducted, with this year’s operation taking three months, while last year’s operation took two months. It doesn’t mean the security situation is worse,” according to the SPU Assistant to the Commissioner General, João Augusto da Rosa.
Authorities performed 816 inspections in casinos, saunas, massage parlours, bars, karaoke venues and other entertainment and gaming establishments, searching 30,205 people and taking 5,097 to police premises for investigation.
A total of HK$8.7 million (US$1.1 million), RMB1.6 million (MOP1.9 million/US$235,233) and MOP470,000 (US$58,491) in cold cash was confiscated during the operation, together with HK$9.2 million in casino gambling chips.
Some 218 loan sharking gaming crime cases were discovered during ‘Thunderbolt 17’ with more than half of the cases involving kidnapping; the majority of the 428 people involved were from Mainland China.
The operation also uncovered an illegal football betting ring, leading to the arrest of eight MSAR residents and 51 Chinese nationals.
“Gaming related crimes have increased, and new strategies to fight this type of crime have been enforced by the PJ and the PSP,” Mr. Rosa said.

Drugs and prostitution
Police authorities also confiscated 1,100 grams of narcotics, with almost half of the amount being methamphetamines, known as ‘Ice’.
A total of 1,712 people were expelled from the MSAR, with 1,274 deported for diverse crimes.
Some 162 women were deported for pretending to be tourist visitors but later found to be involved in crimes of prostitution, illegal immigration or drug consumption.
In May, a 14-year-old girl was also found to be engaged in prostitution solicitation, with one person arrested for bringing the minor to the MSAR.
A man suspected of involvement in a homicide in the MSAR last year was also delivered by Mainland authorities to local police during the operation.