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Surge in cybercrime posing challenges to AML investigations –

Rapid illicit fund flows and concealment of criminal identities pose challenges for analyses and investigations by authorities as cybercrime became one of the major criminal activities registered in the region, according to the Financial Intelligence Office (GIF).

GIF yesterday held its 9th Joint Meeting on Prevention and Suppression of Financial Crimes on September 7 online, with a total of around 170 participants taking part.

Macau has recorded an increase in online crimes in the last two years as the pandemic led to a decrease in face-to-face interaction and to a surge in online scams.

According to an announcement by the oversight department during the meeting, its representatives discussed the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism statistical data in Macau, and the latest suspicious transaction trends while sharing case information.

During the meeting, a new online communication platform was introduced in order to enhance the communication mechanism between GIF and the financial sector, with both parties agreeing that public services and private sectors should strengthen cooperation to enhance AML/CFT preventive measures and to ensure that financial transactions are closely monitored.

The total number of suspicious transaction reports filed by Macau financial entities and gaming companies in the first quarter of 2022 saw a 10 per cent year-on-year increase, figures from GIF show.

The rise was mainly due to the increase in the number of STRs reported by the financial sector and the gaming sector, with both representing 30 per cent and 57 per cent of total, respectively.

Last year a total of 2,435 suspicious transaction reports were submitted to GIF, a 10 per cent rise, with more than half coming from gaming operators.

Still, a recent study stated that the money laundering risks faced by the gaming tourism industry in Macau mainly arise from illegal foreign gains via corruption, fraud, and bribery, with SAR also a destination chosen by criminals for stolen money.

The same study showed that the money laundering risks faced by the gaming tourism industry in Macau mainly arise from illegal foreign gains via corruption, fraud, and bribery, with SAR also a destination chosen by criminals for stolen money.

The city showed a considerable increase in STRs from 838 in 2008 to 3,085 in 2017, most of which originated from the gaming industry.