Three murders, hammer-wielding heavies, and a high-profile police swoop have raised concerns that Macau, the world's casino capital, may be backsliding to the bad old days of the late-1990s.
Much has changed in the past 15 years in Macau, a special administrative region on China's southern coast. Then, the seedy gambling enclave was plagued by open gang warfare. Bombs went off in the streets and shoot-outs broke out in broad daylight.
In 1999, Macau seceded from Portugal to China and, now, Las Vegas tycoons including Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn have helped transform the territory into a multi-billion dollar goldmine, a magnet for high-rollers and global investors.
The murder and mayhem in the late-1990s was sparked by the triads' aggressive manoeuvring to capture more of the lucrative VIP gambling market, which accounts for over 70 percent of total revenues.
Gaming revenue last year was $33.5 billion, more than five times that of Las Vegas.