THE M3: MORE ON SANDS INVESTIGATION; S' PORE GAMBLING CURB; BARRA TRAFFIC NEXUS; CHINA CPI & MORE

The Macau Metro Monitor, March 14, 2011

SPECIAL REPORT - THE MACAU CONNECTION www.sify.com

There was yet another article out this weekend that had more details about the current LVS investigation aparked by Steve Jacobs' allegations.  Some interesting tidbits from the latest article include:

  • Apparently, not only is the SEC and and Justice Department looking at Sands' actions, but the FBI has joined the party as well. 
  • According to a Reuter's Investigative Reporting Program  (IRP),  U.S casino executives have discussed with U.S. diplomats the pervasive influence of the triads in the junkets for years - yet nothing has changed.  Some of these allegations included:
    • Provincial officials were providing "sweetheart" land sales, business licenses, and government contracts to junket operators, in exchange for bank deposits or cash sums paid to the officials upon arrival in Macau.
    • DICJ does not enforce its own reporting requirements
    • "All of the junket operators are directly or indirectly involved with the triads"
  • Manuel Joaquim das Neves, the long-standing head of DICJ, was quoted saying that,  "I cannot say that in Macau we don't have triads, but things are under control."

MORE SAFEGUARDS TO BE INTRODUCED TO CURB GAMBLING ADDITION IF NEEDED: DR. BALAKRISHNAN www.channelnewsasia.com

Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has assured Singaporeans that if the need arises, that more safeguards will be introduced to identify and protect those who are most vulnerable to problem gambling, at a forum for contributors to the government feedback portal, REACH.  He added that the casino novelty amongst locals is wearing off and the number of residents at the casinos is gradually declining.

PLANS ON BARRA TRAFFIC NEXUS DISCLOSED Macau Daily Times

The Government will launch the open tender of the Barra Traffic Nexus project in the first half of next year.  According to the Planning Coordination Taskforce, "the Barra traffic nexus will be an important hub for arrival and departure, transfer and articulation of the traffic between Macau and Zhuhai, the Macau Peninsula and the Islands, the old neighbourhoods and the new land reclamation areas.” The project is estimated to cost MOP 1.3BN and consists of a 3 floor building which includes pedestrian and shopping facilities, bike parking, and features 9,000 SQ meters of green areas and an outdoor bus depot which will be connected to the LightRail Train System (LRT).  Construction of the Barra Traffic Nexus is expected to be concurrent with the first phase of the LRT.

CHINA COMPLETES CONSTRUCTION OF WORLD'S FASTEST UNDERWATER RAILWAY TUNNEL People's Daily

The construction of the Shiziqang tunnel, which commenced in Nov 2007, crossed the Pearl River in South China’s Guangdong Province with a length of 10.8 kilometers that allows trains traveling at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour, making it the fastest underwater tunnel ever built.  The Guangzhou‐Shenzhen‐Hong Kong express rail link is scheduled to be put into operation in 2012 which would slash travel time between Guangzhou and Hong Kong to 40 minutes from the current two hours and join with the country's express railway network.  This would shorten the trip between Hong Kong to Beijing to only 8 hours.

CHINA CPI RISES 4.9% IN FEBRUARY Xinhua News

China’s CPI rose 4.9% YoY in February, same as January’s record and above the government's 4% target.  PPI rose 7.2% YoY in February.

CHINA TRADE DEFICIT HIKE IN 7 YEARS Xinhua News

China's trade deficit in February was recorded at US$7.3BN, the highest in 7 years due to the CNY holidays in the month. Exports grew 2.4% YoY in February while imports grew 19.4% YoY.