Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Number of the Day: HK$10 Billion

Macau seems to be another place for mainlanders to move their money
That is the amount of money that is withdrawn from ATMs in Macau per month.

Per month!

And the banks have received instructions to make sure these automatic teller machines never run out of bank notes too.

The 1,300 machines around the former Portuguese enclave are monitored 24 hours a day, and if they start getting low, a team is ready to refill them with more cash.

Looks like Macanese ATMs are another avenue for capital outflows.

What's also interesting is that since December last year, the maximum amount of withdrawals dropped from 10,000 patacas to 5,000 patacas, but that doesn't seem to have prevented mainlanders from getting money out.

Facial recognition technology will soon be installed at ATMs
There are reports that mainland racketeers use hundreds of bank cards to withdraw cash from Macau ATMs as part of a multi-million-dollar foreign exchange scheme.

In one case last January, the court heard evidence that one couple used 402 cash card accounts to make withdrawals from Macau ATMs as part of a 105 million yuan illegal foreign exchange racket.

A similar case in the same court last October had evidence showing 222 cash card accounts were used by a gang to make ATM withdrawals in the casino hub as part of a 139 million yuan foreign exchange scam.

Another interesting statistic is that the number of ATMs in Macau has quadrupled since the gaming industry was liberalized in 2001.

Either local Macanese like playing with ATM machines, or they are specifically geared towards mainlanders.

But maybe it'll be game over soon, as facial recognition technology will be used to scan millions of bank card users at ATMs in Macau.

The Macau government said all holders of mainland-issued China UnionPay bank cards "will be require to scan their mainland identity card and undergo a facial recognition check".

Officials did not have a time frame when the new scheme would be implemented, but one can imagine even more cash is being withdrawn now as we write this.

The vast majority of visitors to Macau are from mainland China at 30 million last year, 20 million of which were from Guangdong province.

The Chinese government is desperately trying to stop capital outflows any way it can, and yet people still find a way to get their money out. It is normal for people on the mainland to have a number of bank accounts, so facial recognition may not be all that helpful.

This cat and mouse game will continue, and Beijing might be the loser in the end.

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