Wiretapping on investigation of bribery cases to be allowed – report

Macau (MNA) – The new and amended propositions ruling on the nature of interception and the protection of communications during criminal investigations in Macau will allow wiretapping related to bribery cases, a government report revealed on Monday.

In addition to smuggling, which is already included in the existing law, the final draft of the text under review will include bribery as a type of crime in which investigation will allow telephone interception following suggestions from the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC). 

The Macau SAR Government also agreed to cancel the suggestion that allows judges to order the checking and opening of data from a suspect’s communication devices due to the lack of consensus among the opinions expressed.

Whereas about 90 per cent of the opinions agreed on the suggestion above, several expressed within the legal and communication sectors, showed concern about the limitations of a suspect’s right of silence.

In addition, the report notes that the government will consider the necessity and rationality of setting a compensation system for illegal interceptions, proposing to increase sanctions in that regard in order to reinforce and protect freedom and the secrecy of communications.

Also included in the report is a clause stating that statistical data ensuing from communication interception should be published ‘regularly’ and in an ‘adequate manner’ by the court secretariat.

The report published today is the result of a consultation period spanning September 26 to November 9 last year, during which the government received a total of 550 opinion sheets in which feature some 4,325 opinions on diverse topics and issues raised.

In addition to the general public, the Macau Lawyers Association, telecommunication companies, and government departments, including the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) and Personal Data Protection Bureau (GPDP), were consulted on the proposal.

About 84.55 per cent of the public and professional opinions collected during the consultation agreed on the suggestions and legislative directions proposed to amend the legal regime of interception and protection of communication.

During the 45 days of consultation, the government held three public consultation sessions, and one specifically tailored for the communication sector, while having also sent representatives to radio and television programmes to discuss aspects of the legal text.

The government claims that because the current regulations of interception of communications are being applied for over 22 years, they are not enough to address current technological developments and changes in criminal trends.

*With Jane Wong