First of 18 Aus­tralian casino em­ploy­ees re­leased in China

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

One of 18 em­ploy­ees of Aus­tralia’s largest casino op­er­a­tor de­tained in China a month ago for sus­pected gam­bling crimes has been re­leased on bail, the com­pany said yes­ter­day.

A Chi­nese national who was a ju­nior Crown Re­sorts Ltd. em­ployee was the first of the staff to be re­leased, the com­pany said in a state­ment. Crown did not iden­tify the em­ployee. Jenny Chi­ang, a 33-year-old Shang­hai-based Chi­nese cit­i­zen who had worked for Crown for more than five years as an ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant, was re­leased on Fri­day, The Aus­tralian news­pa­per re­ported.

The head of Crown’s VIP In­ter­na­tional team, Ja­son O’Con­nor, was among three Aus­tralian and 15 Chi­nese em­ploy­ees de­tained on Oct. 13 and 14 in raids across China.

They had been caught up in an ap­par­ent crack­down on over­seas tours for high rollers. The Chi­nese for­eign min­istry said the em­ploy­ees had been de­tained for sus­pected in­volve­ment in gam­bling crimes, but did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

Casino gam­bling is il­le­gal on the main­land and Chi­nese law pro­hibits agents from or­ga­niz­ing groups of more than 10 Chi­nese cit­i­zens to gam­ble abroad. The crime is pun­ish­able by up to three years’ im­pris­on­ment. The in­dus­try has been known to skirt the ban by tout­ing des­ti­na­tion pack­ages.

Casino op­er­a­tors have sought to lure Chi­nese high-rollers who have avoided Ma­cau since Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s on­go­ing cor­rup­tion crack­down de­ters vis­its to the off­shore en­clave that is the only place in China where casi­nos are le­gal.

Last year, po­lice ar­rested 13 South Korean casino man­agers and 34 Chi­nese agents for selling pack­ages with free tours, free ho­tels and sex­ual ser­vices.— AP

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