Good things in even smaller packages – debit cards used to smuggle Chinese cash into Macau

Following from a recent story on how the EUR500 note is used to smuggle large amounts of cash in small packages across borders, here is another story on how Chinese citizens are using debit cards to access big money to spend in Macau’s casinos.

MACAU (Reuters) – Growing numbers of Chinese are using the country’s state-backed bankcards to illegally spirit billions of dollars abroad, a FCA - ChinaMacau fake sale scamReuters examination has found.

This underground money is flowing across the border into the gambling hub of Macau, a former Portuguese colony that like Hong Kong is an autonomous region of China. And the conduit for the cash is the Chinese government-supported payment card network, China UnionPay.

In a warren of gritty streets around Macau’s ritzy casino resorts, hundreds of neon-lit jewellery, watch and pawn shops are doing a brisk business giving mainland Chinese customers cash by allowing them to use UnionPay cards to make fake purchases – a way of evading China’s strict currency-export controls.

On a recent day at the Choi Seng Jewellery and Watches company, a middle-aged woman strode to the counter past dusty shelves of watches. She handed the clerk her UnionPay card and received HK$300,000 ($50,000) in cash. She signed a credit card receipt describing the transaction as a “general sale”, stuffed the cash into her handbag and strolled over to the Ponte 16 casino next door.

The withdrawal far exceeded the daily limit of 20,000 yuan, or $3,200, in cash that individual Chinese can legally move out of the mainland. “Don’t worry,” said a store clerk when asked about the legality of the transaction. “Everyone does this.”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-special-report-how-chinas-official-bank-card-is-used-to-smuggle-money-2014-11#ixzz2y5u7jImJ

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