* Machines to use face recognition technology
* Measure introduced as a top Chinese leader visits
* Police conduct raids to "purify environment"
(Adds police comment on raids)
HONG KONG, May 8 Macau plans to add security
features to ATMs to monitor withdrawals, authorities in the
world's largest gambling hub said as the Chinese territory seeks
to tighten restrictions on cash flows out of the mainland.
Macau is a special administrative region of China and the
announcement of the plan coincides with a visit by Zhang
Dejiang, the head of China's parliament and its third-most
The new measures announced for China's UnionPay bank card
means users will have to scan their identity card at automated
teller machines (ATMs), which will use facial recognition
technology to verify the user, the government said in a
The government did not say when the changes would be
implemented, but specifically mentioned ATMs around casinos.
Zhang is visiting Macau from May 8-10, and over the past
nine months, Macau's gambling revenues have rebounded as more
mainlanders take advantage of an easing of President Xi
Jinping's campaign against shows of wealth by public officials.
Ahead of his visit, police in the former Portuguese colony
raided casinos, cafes and bars, investigating a total of 790
people, to "purify the environment in the community and do the
best to maintain safety and stability", the Judiciary Police
said in a statement on Monday.
Those being investigated were suspected of various offences
including illegal residence in Macau, human trafficking and
illegal business operations.
In a bid to support the yuan, China's government has since
late-2016 put in place capital controls that make it harder for
individuals and companies to move money out of China.
A 2014 Reuters investigation found that many mainland
Chinese use state-backed UnionPay cards to circumvent cash
withdrawal limits of 20,000 yuan ($3,200) a day, and either use
that money to gamble or transfer it abroad.
Customers open multiple bank accounts, and then withdraw
cash from each, or use pawn shops in Macau to make fake
purchases, the investigation found.
The planned ATM measures come as Macau is proposing changes
to its anti-money laundering laws which will strengthen current
regulations. The gaming authority is also conducting additional
audits on the lucrative VIP gambling sector and more vetting of
individual junket operators.
(Reporting by Farah Master; additional reporting by Katy Wong;
Editing by Miral Fahmy, Robert Birsel)