The Macau Penal Code and Other Penal Laws in English Unofficial Translation

46 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2013 Last revised: 1 Apr 2020

Date Written: March 31, 2020


This is a partial English translation of the criminal laws of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

The main focus is the Penal Code, approved by Decree-Law no. 58/95/M, of November 14. The Code is the basis of criminal law in Macau, although it is not the only relevant source.

In terms of genealogy, the 1995 Code is in essence an updated, improved and ‘localized’ version of the 1982 Portuguese Penal Code, as revised in 1995, which in turn is heavily influenced by the German Penal Code (StGB).

One feature of the legal tradition in which the Penal Code fits is the extensive use of very abstract and technical concepts, which are intended to be precise, logical and consistent, almost ‘scientific’. This conceptual refinement is typical of civil law legal systems and flows from the German tradition that produced the StGB.

An attempt was made to produce an accurate and consistent translation, employing a modern and elegant style of English writing, consistent with the translations of the Commercial Code (completed) and Civil Code (now underway). This is obviously a rather difficult task, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. More than a translation, it is, in fact, a highly specialized work of legal research, given that the search for the appropriate equivalent terms and expressions involves considerable comparative law research.

There are a number of other laws besides the Code that are devoted totally or partly to criminal law provisions. A table is included of the many laws that have criminal law provisions. Of these, the translation also includes some provisions of:

a) Law 8/96/M, of July 22, on unlawful gaming;
b) Law 6/97/M, of July 30, on organized crime;
c) Law 2/2006, of April 3, which is now the legal basis of the crime of money laundering;
d) Law 2/2009, of March 2, on the protection of State security, giving execution to article 23 of the Macau Basic Law.

Keywords: Penal Code, Macau, Criminal Law

Suggested Citation

Godinho, Jorge A.F., The Macau Penal Code and Other Penal Laws in English Unofficial Translation (March 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

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