The Prosecutor-General says the city cannot do its best to combat money laundering without regional judicial co-operation
The city may need to further consider judicial co-operation with nearby as well as overseas jurisdictions in order to better combat money-lanudering in the city, said Prosecutor-General Ip Song Sang at the opening ceremony of the 2016/17 Judicial Year yesterday.
The Prosecutor-General noted local authorities have found difficulty in their investigations into money-laundering cases involving activities in Mainland China or overseas, as local bodies are not be able to get evidence from outside the MSAR.
He pointed out that that 346 money-laundering cases were submitted in the past two judicial years but only two have been successfully prosecuted.
He believes that the MSAR should consider amending its current laws in order to strengthen judicial co-operation with other jurisdictions.
According to the Prosecutor-General, the Macau Prosecutions Office opened files for 13,964 criminal cases in the 2015/16 Judicial Year, which is down 3.3 per cent year-on-year, whilst it closed 17,335 cases, an increase of 22.8 per cent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, the incumbent Prosecutor-General indicated that the arrest of his predecessor, Ho Chiu Ming, for alleged corruption reflects that the city strictly enforces the Basic Law.
“The investigation of former Prosecutor-General Ho Chio Meng’s case and the subsequent judicial proceedings shows that Macau strictly implements and enforces the Basic Law,” he said.
The former Prosecutor-General was arrested for allegedly colluding with local businessmen for advantages in February of this year, since when he has been held in custody.
However, the president of the Macau Lawyers Association (AAM), Jorge Neto Valente, expressed his disappointment at the lack of transparency of the case on the sidelines of the ceremony.
“It’s sad that there has been no information about the accusation being made public after the arrest of such a high-level official,” he said. “Especially authorities have said that every [accusation] was already proved and that they have all the evidence.”
Preventing gaming crimes outside casinos
Meanwhile, the president of the Court of Final Appeal, Justice Sam Hou Fai, said in his speech that the city should prevent gaming-related crimes from occurring outside local casinos.
He perceives that the increase in the number of illegal gambling and detainment cases, up 38 per cent year-on-year to 697 on the previous judicial year, reflects that the criminal trend is expanding outside gaming venues.
He urged the city to halt the trend in a timely manner otherwise it would result in negative impacts on the city’s gaming industry.
On the other hand, the president of the top court expressed his hope that the government and legislature could amend the city’s justice framework law in order to improve the city’s jurisdiction.
“The court cannot solve everything, but the judicial process is the last means to resolve legal disputes,” president Sam said.
“The judicial proceedings are costly and time consuming. Therefore, it is not the only way to resolve all disputes. There is space for improvement in the Macau judicial system, in addition to its operation and management,” he added.