Macau pledges to support Beijing's crackdown on graft

Head of Commission Against Corruption says it will help bring fugitives to justice

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 April, 2015, 5:35am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 April, 2015, 2:00pm

Graft-busters in Macau have pledged to support Beijing's corruption crackdown and its hunt for suspects at large, after a senior mainland official issued a stern call last week for cooperation.

Macau would help bring fugitives to justice and with the recovery of laundered funds, the chief of the Commission Against Corruption of Macau indicated in an article released by the anti-graft agency on Friday.

"Through enhancing communication and cooperation … and supporting the fugitive manhunt and asset recovery activities of the Chinese mainland, the [commission] will exert the best efforts to prevent Macau from turning into a transit point or destination for illicit money outflows and corrupt officials fleeing the country," the article quoted commissioner Andre Cheong Weng-chon as saying.

He said his commission would also strengthen cooperation with neighbouring provinces and regions such as Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian in cases of mutual interest and training personnel.

Cheong's response came after Minister for Supervision Huang Shuxian told him during a meeting in Beijing on Monday that he hoped "to cooperate pragmatically with the Commission Against Corruption of Macau to strengthen the tracking down of fugitives and proceeds". Huang urged Macau to cooperate with the transfer of fugitives in the anti-graft drive.

Their meeting took place days after the launch of the multi-agency Operation Skynet, an international manhunt for corruption suspects aimed at restricting their financial channels.

Despite returning to Chinese sovereignty in 1999, Macau has not devised a law to transfer fugitives to and from the mainland.

Since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, the mainland has stepped up its drive against corrupt party cadres, a move widely seen as the reason behind falling revenues in Macau's gaming sector.

Figures released last week showed gambling revenue in the former Portuguese enclave fell for the tenth straight month in March and suffered its second-worst year-on-year decline.

Underground banks and offshore companies that enable money laundering as well as people who forge licences, passports and other documents are believed to be among key targets in Operation Skynet.