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Another Gambling Related Murder in Macau

9 April 1999

Violent crimes against casino workers continue to plague Macau. Last week, for the second time in the past two months, the Portuguese enclave (located around 40 miles west of Hong Kong) was the site of a kidnapping that resulted in death.

The decomposed body of So Cheong-weng, a 36 year-old gambling hall director, was found in the trunk of a car in a residential parking garage after several residents complained of a foul odor. Police were unable to immediately determine the cause of death, however, injuries were found on his neck and his hands and feet were bound with tape.

So was reported missing on March 23. Police reported that his family paid part of the 2 million pataca (U.S. $256,410) ransom demanded for his release a week before his body was discovered. They also said that he had been carrying around about 300,000 patacas (U.S. $38,452) when he was captured and that money was gone.

In February, a Portuguese woman, reportedly the wife of a former gang boss, was kidnapped and later found dead.

Macau has been the site of several gang-related murders and arsons for the past few years. Gambling is the enclave's dominant industry and mobsters are fighting over casino profits, which have shrunken greatly in the midst of a recessive economy.

Macau will revert to Chinese rule on December 20, at which time China wants to station troops there to restore order. Portugal claims that this would violate an earlier understanding. The two countries are trying to negotiate a favorable resolution.

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