Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2018, 14:34 GMT

Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Macau

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1999
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Macau, February 1999, available at: [accessed 20 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

As of December 31, 1998

When Macau reverts to Chinese rule in December 1999 after 400 years as a Portuguese colony, it will become the latest experiment in the policy of "One Country, Two Systems" under which Hong Kong is now governed and which China hopes to impose on Taiwan.

A gambling enclave at the mouth of China's Pearl River with a population of 450,000, Macau is tiny, but it has lucrative casinos and large foreign currency reserves that have helped fuel a crime wave in recent years. Macau's essentially free media have frequently probed allegations that its loosely regulated financial sector has been a haven for money-laundering activities by corrupt Chinese gangsters, shady Portuguese officials, and mainland business executives.

As gambling revenue has decreased during the Asian economic crisis and uncertainty about the future under Beijing has grown, the organized crime syndicates known as "triads'" – notorious for their historic role in the many vices of Macau – have escalated their violent competition. There were 24 triad-related killings in Macau during the year, and numerous bombings and arson attacks.

The violence has also affected journalists. A bomb planted in a motorcycle in September injured 10 journalists and four policemen who had been lured to the site by another blast just minutes earlier. Police said the attack may have been an attempt to frighten the press away from aggressive coverage of the gangs.

The criminal terror and relatively permissive legal climate under Portugal has led many observers to believe that Macau will lose much of its separate identity when China takes over. Residents may simply be relieved to have a strong power replace the weak and often corrupt Portuguese administration. A "basic law," similar to the one that governs Hong Kong, is set to provide the legal foundation for the transition, but it is unclear whether it will guarantee Macau's relative autonomy after China takes over.

Attacks on the Press in Macau in 1998

09/08/98Maria Cheang Ut-ming, TVBAttacked
09/08/98Leung Wing-kuen, Oriental Daily News.Attacked
09/08/98Eight othersAttacked
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