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Macau plans ‘simulated attacks’ in security ramp-up after Vegas shooting

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: MGM Macau and Grand Lisboa casinos are seen in Macau© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: MGM Macau and Grand Lisboa casinos are seen in Macau

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Authorities in the Chinese territory of Macau have ramped up security measures following the deadly Las Vegas shooting this month and unveiled plans for a series of mock attacks and crisis training to safeguard the world’s largest gambling hub.

The new recommendations were laid out in a government statement following a meeting on Monday between Macau’s gaming regulator, the Judiciary Police and representatives from the six licensed casino operators which include Wynn Macau and Sands China.

The former Portuguese colony of Macau had seen heady gang violence and bombings until China took control in 1999. Since the handover, booming casino revenues have propelled the tiny enclave of 600,000 people to one of the world’s richest cities.

Macau had a relatively lower risk of attack, said Chau Wai Kuong, director of Macau’s Judiciary Police, although he cautioned the special administrative region must be vigilant.

The Las Vegas attack on October 1 was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from his hotel room on more than 20,000 concertgoers at an outdoor venue. A total of 59 people were killed, including Paddock who shot himself.

“A simulation of attacks should be conducted in the short term … so that the frontline workers of casinos are more skilled in handling emergency incidents,” the statement from Macau authorities said.

Other measures included setting up a special action team with protective equipment and additional physical training for frontline staff to help reduce any casualties in any potential situations before police arrive.

Casinos will also install metal detectors at all entrances and place a ban on luggage on the casino floors. Operators also need to train their employees to identify suspicious people and increase overall security procedures.

Paulo Martins Chan, the head of Macau’s gaming regulator, said all operators had purchased permanent metal detectors which would help to reduce and dispel criminals.

Macau’s casino operators Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, Melco Crown, SJM and Galaxy Entertainment had already been on alert following an attack in June at a Manila casino where a lone gunman started a blaze that killed more than 30 people.

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