Macau Casinos On High Alert After Fake Passports Get Picked Up
The escalating tensions between the United States and Iran are posing significant challenges for the world at large and that includes the global casino industry. Macau, which is the biggest gambling hub in the world, is home to a number of multi-billion dollar casino resorts that are owned by U.S. based operators such as Las Vegas Sands Corp, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts.
Macau’s Public Security Police Force (PSP) confirmed that they arrested six Iranian nationals earlier this week who were using false passports. The six Iranian nationals arrived in Macau using three different international flights that came in from Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. The fake passports claimed they were citizens from different countries which included Israel, Sweden, Italy and Spain.
The six Iranians comprised of 4 men and 2 women who were between the ages of 24 and 34. All six claimed that they did not know each other and stated that they had to pay their ‘agents’ close to €9, 000 to obtain these fake passports. The six Iranian nationals provided different names for their agents.
The authorities found that all six Iranian nationals claimed that they were flying out to Europe but none of them were able to specify which European country they were heading on to. They also did not have a flight ticket booked to a European destination which makes it appear that their main stop was Macau.
Is Iran Targeting Macau’s Casinos?
One can put it down to human smuggling but the timing of their arrivals in Macau makes it very interesting. Iran is currently threatening to do damage to US based interests and it could very well be that these six Iranian nationals had plans to target US owned casinos in Macau.
The recent assassination of General Qasem Soleimani has upset the Iranian government who retaliated by bombing 2 US bases in Iraq. There are also allegations that Iran has threatened to bomb Dubai and go after President Trump.
American casinos as well as Macau’s casinos are on high security alert due to these tensions and the alertness of the PSP could have very well averted a terror attack at Macau’s casinos. The PSP will have to carry out a full investigation into the six Iranian nationals to ascertain whether they were planning to carry out an attack or if it is a case of human smuggling.