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Macau Government Official Killed

March 24, 1998

MACAU (AP) _ A gunman killed a senior government official outside a hotel today in the latest slaying linked to gang warfare over gambling in this Portuguese enclave.

Police said the gunman escaped after shooting Francisco Amaral, the No. 3 man in the government’s gambling regulatory agency.

Amaral, 45, died instantly from a single shot to the neck outside the Lisboa Hotel in downtown Macau, police said.

More than 20 people have died in shootings, stabbings and firebombings that have rocked Macau since 1996.

Two years ago, Manuel Antonio Apolinario, who was then deputy director in charge of the government gambling agency, was wounded when he was shot in the face by a man on a motorcycle.

Last year, the legislature passed laws providing for lengthy prison terms for members of triads, or Chinese gangs.

Police said the violence is believed to be a turf war among gangs over the casino business, Macau’s largest source of income.

The violence has scared off some tourists from visting the enclave at the tip of South China. Macau had 7 million visitors last year, a 13 percent drop from 1996.

Macau, settled by the Portuguese in the 1500s, reverts to Chinese rule next year.

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