Two Australians among Crown staff released from China jail

Two Australians are among some of the Crown Resorts employees released from jail in China for gambling crimes.

长沙夜网

Those released are believed to be ‘Jane’ Pan Dan and Jerry Xuan.

“Two Australians were released on 12 July at the conclusion of their sentence,” Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

“Due to our privacy obligations, we will not provide further comment on the individuals,” DFAT said in a brief statement

The Australian government has provided consular assistance to three Australian Crown employees since they were detained in Shanghai in October 2016.

Crown Resorts is yet to comment.

A Reuters report on Wednesday said that 10 of 16 employees who were jailed in June were released from two detention facilities in Shanghai on Wednesday.

It is believed that another employee will be released on Thursday.

The employees were taken into custody by Chinese authorities last October.

Nineteen current and former Crown Resorts staff, including three Australians, pleaded guilty to charges of illegal promotion of gambling on the Chinese mainland at a hearing in China in June.

Of the 19, 16 were fined and sentenced to a jail term.

Three defendants, who had been released on bail last November, were not fined or sentenced to prison

Eleven of those fined and jailed received a sentence of nine months, and five a sentence of 10 months, with time in detention taken into account in all cases.

Crown’s head of international VIP gambling, Australia’s Jason O’Connor, was sentenced to 10 months in jail and fined RMB2 million, or $A390,000.

Mr Xuan and Ms Pan, both Australian-Chinese dual nationals, received sentences of nine months’ imprisonment and were also fined $A78,000 and $A39,000 respectively.

The marketing of casinos and organising overseas gambling trips for 10 or more people are illegal on mainland China.

Chinese authorities have been cracking down on gambling as part of the fight against corruption.

Crown Resorts, which is controlled by billionaire James Packer, had been luring wealthy VIP gamblers from China to Crowns’ casino-hotel resorts in Melbourne and Perth, and to jointly operated casinos in Macau.

Since the detentions, Crown has scaled back its Chinese ambitions, selling down its stake in the Macau-based joint venture Melco Crown, before offloading its final stake in Melco Resorts & Entertainment for $US987 million.