Perpetrator of MGM Cotai homicide arrested in Hunan province

A 34-year-old mainlander surnamed Zhao, who is responsible for the homicide of two women in the MGM Cotai earlier this month, was arrested on Tuesday morning (today) in Hunan province, the Macau Judiciary Police (PJ) announced in a press conference.

The Macau police are now working with their counterparts in Mainland China on the motive for the murder case, as well as whether the perpetrator will be transferred to the city, PJ said on Tuesday.

The homicide, in which two mainland Chinese women were found naked and strangled to death in a hotel room in the MGM Cotai, was first reported in the early morning of May 7.

While no further details were provided on Tuesday about the background of the murderer besides his age and surname, PJ confirmed one of the two victims was involved in the illicit money exchange business in Macau and the other victim was suspected of providing sex services in the city.

Apprehended suspect

The police investigation found the suspect surnamed Zhao visited Macau on April 29 and had stayed in a number of hotels on the Macau peninsula and in Cotai, before relocating to a hotel room registered under the name of a third party in the MGM Cotai on May 5, PJ said.

Zhao then summoned the first victim to his room in the MGM Cotai for money exchange at around 9:00pm on May 5, and then Zhao left the room alone at about 1:00 am on May 6 to gamble in a nearby casino, the police said today.

“Our investigation found the culprit had used some HK$600,000 (US$76,437) in cash for the exchange of gambling chips [in the nearby casino] and had lost all the money,” PJ remarked.

Zhao then brought the second victim to his room at about 4:00 am on May 6 and left the hotel alone two hours later. “The culprit left Macau through the Border Gate at 7:35 am on May 6,” the police added.

The Macau police had already identified the culprit two hours after the MGM Cotai staff reported the case in the early morning of May 7 when cleaning the room, PJ stated, adding they had immediately sought assistance from the mainland authorities after knowing Zhao’s departure from the city.

PJ thanked the assistance from the mainland counterparts in the manhunt for Zhao, including the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, public security departments in Hunan province, Guangdong province and Zhuhai, as well as the police liaison division of the Chinese liaison office in Macau.

“[This case] shows the successful police collaboration between the two sides in the fight against major crimes, and underscores the professionalism and efficiency of the mainland police in safeguarding the security of Macau,” PJ said on Tuesday.

The Hunan police also published a statement on Tuesday that it had dispatched over 700 police officers in the manhunt of Zhao, leading to his arrest in Tangwan Town near the Xuefeng Mountains in the heart of the province on Tuesday morning after receiving tips from the public.