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Two Australian Crown staff released from Chinese prison

Thu, Jul 13, 8:38am by Staff Writer

Two Australians are among ten Crown Resorts employees who have been freed from a Shanghai prison after serving nine-month sentences for promoting gambling.

The ten were among 16 Crown Resorts staff who were last month convicted after being arrested last October in a much-publicised crackdown by Chinese authorities on the Australian company’s marketing activities in China.

As a result of the arrests, Crown withdraw all its operations from mainland China, and then pulled out of a joint venture with Hong Kong based Melco International to focus solely on it Australian casino businesses.

Australian national Jerry Xuan met family members and security officials after leaving the prison on Wednesday, while Jane Pan Dan was also released as the saga gradually comes to an end.

One more Australian, Crown’s head of international VIP gambling, Australian Jason O’Connor, will be released next month.

The three Australians, O’Connor, Dan and Xuan were also fined the equivalent of $390,000, $78,000 and $39,000 as part of their convictions, with Crown agreeing to pay the $1.67 million in total fines for the 16 staff.

The high-profile case has not only impacted Crown but also other Australian casinos who have targeted Chinese VIPs for business.

University of New South Wales law lecturer, Dr Jeanne Huang, told the ABC the Chinese government was vigilant in preventing its citizens from excessive gambling with public money,

“This is not a special case or particularly targeted [at] Australian companies,” she said.

“In recent years the Chinese Government, Chinese court has taken comprehensive activities to deter Chinese citizens from using public money to gamble outside China.”

“We see cases against Singaporean companies, cases against South Korean companies, so there are a lot of similar cases going around.”

China has launched a major crackdown in Macau in recent years after the gambling exploits of public officials in the gambling mecca were revealed.

Macau is the only place in China where casino gambling is permitted.

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