Macau casinos shut down for first time since 1999

Local | Phoenix Un and Stella Wong 17 Sep 2018

Casinos in Macau were closed for the first time since the 1999 handover, as Typhoon Mangkhut disrupted electricity supply and flooded various districts.

The city's Meteorological Bureau hoisted Typhoon Signal No 8 at 2am yesterday, followed by No 9 an hour later and, in quick succession, No 10 at 11am. The T10 lasted nine hours until 8pm, when it was lowered to No 8.

All casinos in Macau stopped operating from 11pm Saturday, causing the first-ever casino closure in Macau's history since the handover. Some mainland tourists expressed their disappointment.

The black storm surge warning was in effect from 2pm, warning that flooding would be 2.5 meters high.

The government warned residents through loudspeakers at road lamps and police vans to evacuate from low-lying areas such as the Inner Harbour area and Rua de Cinco de Outubro, saying it was a matter of "life and death." Floods were widespread, with the sea level in the Inner Harbour area about two meters or one story high in the afternoon.

Sea water rushed onto the streets through the pier doors and fences, like during Super Typhoon Hato last year, and a lot of rubbish got washed in.

Police and firemen took to patrolling in inflatable boats and private boats to transfer residents of low-lying areas to shelters, including three residents from the second floor of a shop on Rua do Tarrafeiro.

However, the exact water level of the affected areas was not known, with the Meteorological Bureau noting the equipment in the Inner Harbour and Lam Mau Tong area were not working properly due to a power cut. There were blackouts in many districts. The Macau Electricity Company said they cut the power pro-actively in busy areas such as Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, and densely populated areas like Patane area and Rua do Almirante Sergio, to avoid damaging power supply facilities.

Water supply, in contrast, remained normal despite the flooding.

Five residents were taken to the police station after walking through the oldest bridge connecting Macau Peninsular and Taipa Island.

The bridge had been cordoned off since 3.25am yesterday, but the five people were spotted walking along the Governador Nobre de Carvalho Bridge from Macau to Taipa at 10.30am.

Police found them and took them to the police station for investigation. Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on ordered all civil servants, except those working for civil protection operations and offices outside Macau, to be exempted from work today. Classes will also be suspended.

Meanwhile, seawater flooded into the restaurant of the Sheraton Dameisha Resort in Shenzhen.

A video clip widely circulated on the internet at about 12.30pm yesterday showed seawater destroying large glass windows of a hotel, and rushing into the restaurant located on the ground floor.

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