More than 100 young mainland prostitutes said to be paying daily protection fees of up to HK$1,000 to operate in the plush Venetian Macao-Resort- Hotel have been arrested in a raid by anti- vice cops.
Police said 22 suspected members of a syndicate who controlled the women, some of whom are illegal immigrants, were also detained when officers raided the hotel early yesterday.
The police have had the casino under surveillance since Wednesday evening. They swooped on the hotel from 1am to 6am yesterday.
Reports say each hooker allegedly paid a daily protection fee of HK$800 to HK$1,000 to be allowed to operate by posing as a hotel guest.
Macau Judiciary Polices chief coordinator of criminal investigation Chan Kin-hong said the case is still under investigation by the Gaming and Economic Crimes Investigation Department. The anti-prostitution operation was launched at around 1am yesterday after the police received information on women engaged in prostitution in the hotel, he said.
The department is investigating whether it is a syndicate and whether all the arrested 110 women are illegal immigrants.
A member of the Legislative Assembly of Macau, Au Kam-san, said it is the first anti-prostitution operation taken at such a large hotel in Macau.
Au said the Macau government has not taken action against prostitutes before.
Such prostitution activities have always been an on-going issue in Macau and have been very serious. The government is not determined enough to combat such crimes.
Au claimed illegal prostitution was ongoing, even at the Grand Lisboa, another big casino in Macau. I dont know what pushed them to start taking anti- prostitution action. I hope they can continue to combat such crimes.
Au also said the widespread illegal prostitution in Macau is not normal, as claimed by the government.
The government should maintain social order and healthy development of its casinos. It should also strive to develop Macau into a place of leisure and to attract not only gamblers, but also non-gamblers and families to visit the place.
The Venetian has not replied to questions by The Standard.