Area of a few islands and a peninsula on the coast of China which until December 1999 had been under the administration of Portugal under a long-term lease arrangement much like the one which was used between China and Britain with Hong Kong. Like Hong Kong, the city is now governed by China as a special region whose government setup and capitalistic system will remain unchanged for 50 years. Sometimes spelled "Macao."

Macau (澳门) has been under the thumb of foreign imperialist powers for much longer than Hong Kong (originally a small fishing village), but has been eclipsed by HK because of the might of the old British Empire and the decline of Portugal in the imperialism game. Macau was formerly an important port in the South China Sea shipping lanes, but has since been transformed into a casino city. Much smaller than Hong Kong in size (only 9.1 square miles) and population (500,000 compared to HK's 6,000,000), Macau is now a tourist destination and a crime hotspot.

The laxity of the law in Macau has transformed it into a Triad / Mafia headquarters. The crime rate of Macau has been skyrocketing since the 1980's, severely hurting the tourist industry. Fearing the 1999 return of Chinese administration, local gangs attempted to display their might by committing several high-profile acts against prominent citizens. The Portugese, attempting to cover their mistakes, made a last-minute crackdown just before the handover, leaving the flaming gang war into the hands of the new Chinese administrators.

A spree of drive-by shootings, robberies, arson and murder didn't sit well with the law-minded Chinese, so they sent in the troops and for the next 6 months Macau was violently purged of its criminal elements. Executions were used against the Triad ringleaders, violent criminals sent to remote gulags in inner China to seperate them from their criminal friends. The triads, cowed by the new big boys in town, packed up and left town. Now Macau is actually a decent place to go for a vacation, instead of being a crime-infested hole.

Macau has fine sights, temples and scenery. To reach Macau, one can go via the new international airport or take a fast ferry from Hong Kong (45 minutes ride). Macau nice distraction from the urban chaos that is Hong Kong.

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