Six Iranians have been arrested trying to enter Macau using fake passports. According to Macau local media, the six arrived from Beijing and Kuala Lumpur using different flights in 24 hours.
According to calvinayre.com, all the six had fake passports, which were made to appear as if they were issued from Italy, Spain, Israel, and Sweden. The four men and two women aged between 24 to 34 all claimed they didn’t know each other and that they paid between €8k to €9k for the passports through agents.
When asked about their next destination, they all claimed it was Europe, although they didn’t give the specific country since none of them had booked for a third destination upon arriving in Macau.
Although this may seem to be a simple case of human trafficking, Macau’s three US-based casinos may not take it lightly. Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts might already have been warned about possible targeting after the US government eliminated the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
A Hong Kong-based consultancy in 2016 had issued a warning that Macau could become an Islamic terrorist target due to its American and Jewish interest in the region gaming sector. Iran vowing to revenge for the death of Soleimani and claiming to have identified 113 potential targets, heighten Macau’s US operators fear.
In 2018, the Indonesian authority arrested six individuals connected to ISIS who were planning a rocket attack on Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore. Similarly, shooters at Las Vegas and Manila made two separate attacks. Since then, Macau casinos have carried annual drills to gauge the local authority’s ability to handle such attacks.
Iran also has a history of tangling with Sands owner Sheldon Adelson; this started in 2013 when she suggested that the US should drop a nuclear weapon in the Iranian desert as a warning to its nuclear ambition. Iranian hackers responded by infiltrating Sands casinos’ servers and stealing customers’ information, which included credit cards and bank information.