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Overseas Security Advisory Council
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Macau 2020 Crime & Safety Report

This is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong. OSAC encourages travelers to use this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Macau. For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s China pagefor original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Travel Advisory

The current U.S. Department of State at the date of this report’s publication advises exercising increased caution for travel to Macau due to the novel coronavirus. However, the Travel Advisory in effect prior to the outbreak assessed Macau at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Crime Threats

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Macau as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. The U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong is not aware of any specific threats against U.S. citizens. Exercise the same caution you would in any large city, and pay particular attention to personal belongings while in crowded areas and while traveling on public transportation. Petty street crime, including pick pocketing, occasionally occurs in tourist areas, including in and around casinos and the airport.

Review OSAC’s reports, All That You Should Leave Behind, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud, Taking Credit,, Hotels: The Inns and Outs and Considerations for Hotel Security.

Cybersecurity Issues

Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones: Critical or Contraband?

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Traffic moves on the left in Macau, and roads are narrow and winding. Traffic is generally heavy throughout the day. Most visitors to Macau choose not to drive. Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.

Taxis are inexpensive at the airport, ferry terminal, and gaming venues. Public buses are also inexpensive and frequent, but you may have difficulty finding them outside of major tourist areas. An affordable and reliable bus service is available connecting Macau with Hong Kong via a new international bus station.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

Macau International Airport (MFM) has direct flights from multiple regional and international destinations, and can be a good alternative to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), located a half-hour’s drive to the east via the newly built Hong Kong – Macau – Zhuhai Bridge (HZMB). As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Macau, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has not assessed the government of Macau’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization aviation safety standards. Review OSAC’s report, Security In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.

Other Travel Conditions

Ferry service connecting Macau with Hong Kong and Shenzhen runs regularly from two different ports (Taipa and Outer Harbor). Regular and high-speed ferries are generally reliable and safe. However, there have been two accidents involving ferries between Hong Kong and Macau in recent years: the first, in 2012, resulted in 39 deaths; the second, in 2015, had no fatalities, but over 100 injuries.

Macau customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Macau of items such as firearms, ivory, certain categories of medications, and other goods. Review the Macau Customs Service website for further information.

Terrorism Threat

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Macau as being a LOW-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. The Consulate is not aware of any indigenous terrorist groups operating in Macau. While U.S. and other international travelers in Macau are subject to the worldwide threat from international terrorism, there is no information to suggest any specific terrorism threats directed against U.S. citizens or interests in Macau. Although there has not been a terrorist incident against U.S. interests in Macau, we cannot rule out the possibility of a lone-wolf actor or transnational terrorist organization attempting to carry out an attack.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Macau as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Public protests, demonstrations, and strikes occur, but are seldom violent. The civil unrest common to nearby Hong Kong since mid-2019 has not affected Macau. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.

Post-specific Concerns

Political Sensitivities

On December 7, 2019, authorities denied entry for two private U.S. travelers into Macau. Both Americans are long-term residents of Hong Kong and hold senior positions in the Hong Kong American Chamber of Commerce. The two denials of entry occurred at approximately the same time but at two different ports of entry into Macau. Authorities provided neither traveler a specific reason for the denial, nor were they formally detained.

Environmental Hazards

Typhoon season runs July through September. The Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau issues typhoon warnings an average of six times each season. The Bureau has a good notification and monitoring system. If the Macau Government announces a Typhoon Signal 8 or above or a Black Rainstorm Warning, many facilities in Macau close, and bridges may close to traffic.

Air pollution is increasingly serious in Macau. Congested vehicle traffic and mainland factories pump out ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen oxides, leading to a visible haze in the atmosphere on most days. Average roadside pollution levels exceed WHO guidelines by 200% and continue to deteriorate, creating health risks for those with allergies, asthma, or cardiac problems.

Critical Infrastructure Concerns

There have been no major problems affecting critical infrastructure in Macau; however, there is a nuclear power plant just across the border in mainland China.

Privacy Concerns

Macau has very strict privacy laws.

Personal Identity Concerns

There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults (age 16 and above) or the organization of LGBT events in Macau. Reports of discrimination based on gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation are infrequent. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.

With regard to accessibility, the historic part of Macau is hilly and the pavement uneven, but the newer parts, particularly around the Cotai strip, are flat, and the streets and sidewalks are wide. The airport is accessible, and the ferries from Hong Kong to Macau are accessible with assistance from the staff. Major hotels and casinos offer widely available shuttle buses, but none is equipped with special equipment to accommodate the physically disabled. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.

Police Response

General police support and their response to foreign victims of crime is good. The Macau Police Force is good in terms of professionalism and service.Many Macanese police officers speak Cantonese only, but the police will provide interpreters for English speakers.

Incidents of police corruption, bribery, or harassment are rare. However, if such incidents do occur, contact the Commission against Corruption at (853) 2832 6300 or ccac@ccac.org.mo.

The local police emergency number is 999. Numerous police stations are located throughout the various districts and communities of Macau. Response time to emergencies varies, but is generally satisfactory. Operators speak Portuguese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. In non-emergency situations, victims of crime can call the 24-hour crime reporting hotline at 993 to report crime. U.S. citizens who are victims of crime can also contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at the U.S. Consulate. Download the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.

While the Macau government does not have an office devoted solely to crime victim assistance, the social welfare department offers support to crime victims. The support includes monetary benefits, health care, psychological services, and counseling. In addition, the Macau Tourism Crisis Management Office maintains a tourism hotline (Tel: +853-2833-3000) for visitors to Macau who encounter emergency situations.

Medical Emergencies

Emergency Ambulance: 999

Several major hospitals in Macau have adequate medical facilities, and Kiang Wu and Conde de Sao Januario hospitals are able to provide emergency medical care. Highly developed medical facilities and trained personnel are available in Hong Kong, which is about an hour by jetfoil and 10 minutes by helicopter from Macau. For medical assistance, refer to the Consulate’s Medical Assistance page.

Consider obtaining temporary medical insurance before leaving the United States. Medical facilities in Macau require foreigners to pay for treatment first and then seek reimbursement through their insurance company. Hospitals, including emergency rooms, also will not usually admit foreigners as patients without payment up front, meaning one must either have insurance that the hospital will accept or make a deposit/put up a guarantee prior to admission. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on insurance overseas.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

In addition to routine childhood and adult immunizations, recommended vaccines include:

  • Hepatitis A: Recommended for most travelers.
  • Typhoid: Recommended for risk-averse travelers desiring maximum pre-travel preparation.
  • Hepatitis B: Recommended for prolonged stays; frequent short stays in this or other high risk countries; adventure travelers; the possibility of acupuncture, dental work, or tattooing; all healthcare workers; the possibility of a new sexual partner during stay; and travelers with high potential to seek medical care in local facilities. Consider for short stays in travelers desiring maximum pre-travel preparation. Increase awareness regarding safe sex and body fluid/blood precautions.
  • Japanese encephalitis: Not recommended for Macau as the risk is minimal. Travelers should be aware of the limited risk in rural areas in the New Territories of nearby Hong Kong. Transmission season is from April to October. Consider for risk-averse travelers desiring maximum pre-travel protection and traveling for prolonged stays or frequent short stays in other risk areas. Not recommended for urban areas or short visits to usual rural tourist sites. Exercise evening and nighttime insect precautions.
  • Rabies: Take bat bites seriously, and seek post-exposure prophylaxis even if already immunized.
  • Influenza: Flu (including 2009 H1N1) transmits throughout the year in the tropics; all travelers are at increased risk. Recommended for all travelers. Consider a standby treatment course of oseltamivir for unvaccinated travelers, especially those at high risk for complications.

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Macau.

Review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Traveling with Medication, I’m Drinking What in My Water?, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad

OSAC Country Council Information

The Hong Kong/Macau OSAC Country Council meets several times a year. Individuals interested in participating in the Country Council or connecting with the Regional Security Officer (RSO) should contact OSAC’s East Asia-Pacific Team.

U.S. Consulate Contact Information

26 Garden Road, Hong Kong

Hours: Mon-Fri, 0830-1730

Website: https://hk.usconsulate.gov/

Switchboard: +852 2523-9011

Other U.S. Diplomatic Posts in China

  • Embassy Beijing,  No. 55 An Jia Lou Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
  • Consulate Chengdu, No. 4 Lingshiguan Road, Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC 610041. (28) 8558-3992.
  • Consulate Guangzhou: Huaxia Road, Zhujiang New Town,Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China. 020-3814-5000.
  • Consulate Shenyang: No. 52, 14 Wei Road, Heping District, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China 110003. (24) 2322-1198.
  • Consulate Wuhan: Room 4701, New World International Trade Tower I, No. 568, Jianshe Avenue, Jianghan District, Wuhan 430022. 027-8555-7791.

Helpful Information

Before you travel, consider the following resources:

 

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