Every great city has its seedy side. Macau - once famous for its organised crime and gun battles - also has its shady places, where you can still find a colourful mix of characters living at the fringes of the law. But that can be hell on property values. Close to the waterfront and the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, for example, is the International Centre, which was popular with Hong Kong investors in the mid-1990s. But today, space in the high-rise complex is priced ridiculously cheaply: 1,000 to 1,500 patacas per sq ft - or about 30 per cent below the market value of buildings of similar quality and location. The International Centre has been dubbed 'Macau's Chungking Mansions', after Hong Kong's seedy complex of that name. It is one of the deadliest places in the former Portuguese enclave - with at least seven suspected murders or suicides since the 1999 handover. Most of the dead were Hong Kong residents. Last month, a 44-year-old Hong Kong man apparently hanged himself, using strips of bed sheets, in a small unit of the complex. In December 2004, a 37-year-old Hong Kong man fell to his death from the 14th floor. And in April 2003, a 39-year-old Hong Kong woman died from apparently breathing in the fumes of burning charcoal on the 4th floor of the same block. Macau police regularly launch cleanup campaigns of the International Centre, netting dozens of illegal immigrants, drug dealers and petty criminals. In a February sweep, the police arrested 33 squatters - including 22 Hong Kong residents believed to be frequent visitors to casinos - and found illegal drugs. Despite the police raids, the squatters keep coming back. Many are undoubtedly down-on-their-luck gamblers who have lost even the price of a cheap bed. So they doss down in vacant business units on the ground floor - sleeping on cardboard and, from the smell of the place, urinating on the rubbish-strewn floor. The higher floors seem to be home to loansharks. Many cases of illegal confinement have been reported there, usually above the 10th floor. This may explain why several people have 'fallen' from the building over the years. In 1995, Hong Kong restaurant manager Wong Yiu-kwong was confined in a 12th floor unit after failing to pay 120,000 patacas to a loanshark ring. He fell to his death while trying to escape through a window. Fragmented ownership of the International Centre - similar to that of the real Chungking Mansions - prevents thorough redevelopment. Many owners of units can only live in hope of a miracle that will redeem the value of their properties.