Police pull plug on phone scam

Macau Judiciary Police and mainland police have conducted a joint mission to crack down on a gang involving at least eight scam cases here, Macau authorities revealed yesterday. The amount of the eight cases involves more than 460,000 patacas (US$57,500), Judiciary Police told media, after arresting eight mainland Chinese in nearby Zhuhai, Guangdong province. The police said that both sides used a new cooperation mode to investigate this case, shortening the time exchanging information. The police said that the arrestees would first call the victim, pretending to be a relative, asking them to transfer money to some mainland bank accounts as they were in trouble on the mainland.

Macau has to find its niche, says Pansy Ho

Macau has to shift from a gaming-only to a business and family destination in order to diversify its economy and reduce its dependency on casinos, a situation that is already jeopardizing other sectors in the territory, said Pansy Ho, co-chairperson and executive director of MGM China.
Speaking at G2E Asia as a keynote speaker, Ms Ho warned that Macau continues to suffer the vulnerability of an economy dependent upon a single sector. Gaming today accounts for 25 percent of the labour force and 80 percent of government revenues. “The casino success was not in vain, of course, but we need to diversify and address our economic and social issues”, said the MGM director. “There’s no alternative sector to replace the success of the casinos in Macau; we should invest also in MICE, entertainment, retail, clubs and art to diversify our offer”.
In order to become a worldwide tourist destination like Hong Kong, Macau needs to find its niche and to understand its opportunities and needs, she claimed.

Bumper to bumper

Macau land borders are the point of arrival for most visitors. They are also subject to an increasing flow of vehicles, both light and heavy. In 2010, all border crossings recorded about 5,200 daily vehicles entering Macau, on average. Last year, the same figure approached 6,400 vehicles, an increase in excess of 22 percent for the full period shown here. The growth rate for heavy vehicles was even higher, reaching almost 28.6 percent in those years. But at the Cotai crossing, the Lotus Bridge, a decrease of about 17 percent was registered; therefore, the increase actually took place at the two crossings located in the northern part of the city, which is the area where we can find already the biggest congestion problems. At the Border Gate and the Trans-Border Industrial Park the movement of heavy vehicles rose by 50 percent and 80 percent, respectively, in the same period.
Most of the incoming traffic happens at the Border Gate. That border share of the total number of vehicles entering Macau has been relatively stable in the last four calendar years, contained within a limited band defined by 83 percent plus or minus one percentage point. But that share is declining slowly. At the end of the first quarter of the current year the largest rises recorded in total traffic, compared with the same period in 2013, took place at the other two borders: the Trans-Border Industrial Park, which registered an increase of 14.5 percent in that period; and Cotai, where the figures went up by 11.8 percent. Traffic at both crossings has been rising at rates well above the average for the last eight quarters.

The Cheesecake Factory plans Asian expansion

American restaurant company The Cheesecake Factory is planning to expand in Asia after signing a licensing deal with a Hong Kong restaurant operator, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The deal, according to the report, could see the company open as many as 14 restaurants in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and mainland China over the next 10 years.
The first restaurant could open as early as next year, and an agreement with Maxim’s Caterers Ltd also ‘includes the opportunity to expand to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand,’ the report quotes the company as saying.
“International expansion will become an increasingly meaningful driver to achieving our goal of delivering mid-teens earnings per share growth over time as the number of restaurants operated by our licensees gradually increases,” David Overton, The Cheesecake Factory’s chief executive is quoted as saying.
The restaurant chain is known for its casual dining, and operates some 169 restaurants and 11 Grand Lux Cafes. Earnings, however, fell 11 percent in the first quarter ‘on higher costs as severe weather and holiday shifts [in the US] weighed on same-store sales growth,’ the report added.

Reolian services cost MOP7mil a month

The government has forked out ‘some 7 million patacas (US$875,000) a month on average’ to sustain the bus services of the bankrupted Reolian Public Transport Co, the Transport Bureau has revealed for the first time. The figure comes from a written reply by the Bureau’s director Wong Wan to an enquiry by legislator Chan Meng Kam. The government has temporarily taken over Reolian’s operation including its employees and buses since the latter declared bankruptcy in October. Mr Wong is confident that a deal can be reached with an unidentified firm to take over the service before its takeover period expires by end-June.