Detectives are investigating what appears to have been a suicide pact involving an Indian family of four after the bodies of a father and son were discovered alongside the man’s wife and another son, both unconscious, in a five-star hotel room at a Macau casino resort on Wednesday.
Four separate suicide notes – written in English – and a quantity of unidentified drugs were also found in the room at the Hotel Okura Macau, which forms part of the Galaxy casino complex, not far from the showpiece Cotai Strip, the heart of the world’s most cash-rich gaming destination.
According to Macau police, the two men who died were the 52-year-old father and elder son, 24, of an Indian family surnamed Lunawat.
The dead man’s wife, 45, and a younger son, 20, who were found unconscious at the scene, were in a critical condition on Wednesday night at Macau’s Centro Hospitalar Conde de Sao Januario.
Police have not released the contents of the suicide notes but said initial investigations found no obvious wounds on any of the victims and no signs of fighting or ransacking in the room.
Postmortem examinations will be conducted on the two deceased and tests are being carried out to identify the drugs.
According to unconfirmed reports, the two dead men showed signs of rigor mortis – a stiffening of the muscles and limbs which usually sets in three or four hours after death.
Emergency crews were called to the Galaxy casino complex shortly after 2pm on Wednesday after receiving a report that a number of people had fallen ill inside a room at the hotel, which has been ranked as one of Macau’s top 10.
Calls and emails seeking comment from both Hotel Okura and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Galaxy Entertainment Group which owns and runs the casino resort were not answered by press time.
The tragedy comes as figures for 2016 released by Macau police revealed a 19.2 per cent year-on-year rise in casino-related crime in the city.
Among a total of 1,851 casino-related crimes recorded in 2016 were cases of abduction, extortion and usury, which are typically connected to gambling-related loan sharking.
The authorities classify crimes as gaming-related when they take place inside a casino.
Cases of suspected usury increased by 38.7 per cent year on year and unlawful detention cases rose by 37.4 per cent.
A police spokesman said the majority of the victims as well as suspected perpetrators in cases of usury and unlawful detention were not Macau residents.
Police attributed the rising figures to enhanced crime fighting and investigation.