Human rights scandal in Macau? Say it ain’t so


Doing business in Macau has always been complicated, but nowadays it might be more treacherous than ever as casino titans from Las Vegas jockey for position in the market and attempt to maintain their working relationships with the Chinese government.

But if the Strip’s moguls believed they were going to get away unscathed with doing business in Macau, they have been kidding themselves. It may be run by the Chinese government these days, but it remains a smuggler’s paradise riddled with the potential for embarrassment for the corporate casino crowd.

Rampant prostitution, money laundering, human trafficking, connections to North Korean counterfeiting and human rights abuses: these things go with the territory – and threaten to rub off on those who do business there.

I realize I’ve harped on this for years. Now Robyn Meredith of Forbes.com has an opinion piece that succinctly captures the potential trouble.

She writes: “Macau has seen its share of unsavory action over the past few years, since it became China's offshore gambling hub. There's plenty of prostitution, money-laundering and loan-sharking, much of it run by the Chinese mob.

“There's a smattering of human trafficking, mostly for the ubiquitous sex trade. Oh, and until September 2005, a Macau bank ran money for the North Korean government, which laundered the fruits of its drug trafficking and counterfeiting efforts through Macau.

“Who won't the Macau authorities let in to the place?

“The pro-Beijing government draws the line at the truly dangerous elements: Democracy advocates and the occasional journalist.”