If any beggar should win an award for acute business savvy, it is Peng Lin, a 65-year-old woman who sits almost every afternoon across the road from the Lisboa. Her choice of location is brilliant - this is a spot with large numbers of tourists and locals; an intersection where two taxi stands and a bus stop ensure a regular supply of crowds on the streets. Dressed in a red windbreaker and grey cotton tracksuit trousers, she wishes good fortune to gamblers passing by. 'I can accept Hong Kong dollars, patacas and renminbi,' she shouted, waving her plastic mug. On one hand, she is so smart that academics believe she is part of an organised begging network. On the other, some tourists sympathise with her, taking her as a symbol of a low-income class being left behind amid Macau's throttling, casino-driven economic engine. She squats directly under a glamorous billboard sign advertising the Grand Lisboa. Behind her, inside the gated construction site, bulldozers, cranes and trucks bustle about, ushering in the next era in Macau's gaming bonanza. 'This jacket was given to me by the newspaper delivery man,' Ms Peng said. 'The sneakers are from a mainland teenager who bought a new pair in Macau and was about to throw this pair away.' Even though begging is illegal, police officers had treated her kindly and had not charged her with any offence, she said. Macau Polytechnic Institute social work professor Grace Leung Lai-chun said Ms Peng and dozens of beggars that regularly appear in Macau's central district are likely to be professionals. 'I've seen cars coming to pick them up in the evening,' she said. 'I've seen them donning brighter, cleaner outfits after their work. Others have habits that real beggars theoretically cannot afford, such as smoking.' But British tourist Jacqueline Harrison, who gave Ms Peng a 20-pataca note, insists it was worth it. 'I have lost more than that in the slot machines,' she said. 'Even if there is a chief beggar getting half her earnings, at least I gave $10 to this lady.' Whether driven by greed or necessity, Ms Peng shivers in the cold. The Macau government is considering a new lump-sum pension of 1,200 patacas per year for all people over the age of 65, known as 'elderly respect money'. This would add to the current pension of 1,150 patacas per month that many permanent residents over 65 already receive. Ms Peng, who insists she works independently, said such a small amount would not lure her off the streets. 'If they give me the money, I wouldn't mind,' she said. 'But I make more than that sitting here in one afternoon.'