September 16, 2005

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Old fashioned politics

Macau often gets called the Las Vegas of Asia. Now it's going for the Chicago of Asia:

Macau's Commission Against Corruption has unearthed a massive vote-buying ring. The commission said Thursday it has recommended prosecution of 485 people...

The commission identified the leader of the ring as a businessman surnamed Wong. He is said to have spent 215,000 patacas (HK$208,550) to secure 430 voter cards through his subordinates. Macau law requires residents to show the cards when they vote...Personnel managers at Wong's company, which was not identified, and two subsidiaries, organized a voter- registration drive for staff last spring. Employees then submitted their voter cards to the managers in exchange for 500 patacas. If they gather 10 more cards from their family and friends, they get an equal reward.

Enterprising fellow. So who ratted them out?
The anti-graft agency started its investigation in May after receiving a complaint about a voter accepting 250 patacas for his card. Wong was soon identified and picked up in a restaurant that month while in possession of multiple cards.
One voter was going to ruin it for everyone and take only 250 patacas! Otherwise the whole scheme would have gone ahead without a hitch. Let that be a lesson to your vote buyers.

As for the state of booming Macau, perhaps it's time to stop looking at the glittering new casinos and rising stock prices, and start following a new index:

Votes were priced at 1,000 patacas in the 2001 cases. Vote buyers this year have promised to pay 1,000 patacas on election day in addition to 500 patacas in cash or gift certificates for voter cards.
A 50% rise in 4 years. Not a bad return.

posted by Simon on 09.16.05 at 11:26 AM in the Macau category.


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Comments: Chicago all you get for your vote are some new garbage cans.

posted by: mark safranski on 09.16.05 at 01:31 PM [permalink]

Well they are trying to be different.

posted by: Simon on 09.16.05 at 03:28 PM [permalink]

Well, given the huge amount of casino investment into Macau maybe the best we can hope for is that with inflation, vote rigging simply gets too expensive...but then again, the casinos will ensure there's more pork than ever before.

posted by: HK Dave on 09.16.05 at 05:23 PM [permalink]

Maybe they can give out voter cards with each stack of chips won. Good way to get drag the locals in.

posted by: Simon on 09.16.05 at 05:30 PM [permalink]

Not only a good return, but you get to keep your vote for further sales in the future!

posted by: Bromgrev on 09.16.05 at 06:49 PM [permalink]

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