Almost three weeks after they pled guilty to charges of illegally promoting gambling, ten of the Crown Resorts Limited employees arrested by Chinese law enforcement officials in October have now reportedly been released from detention.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, the action took place on Wednesday while those released from two Shanghai jails included Australian nationals Jerry Xuan and Jane Pan Dan alongside eight others.
The Crown Resorts Limited employees were detained by police in and around Shanghai on October 13 as part of a government policy dubbed “Duanlian”, which in Chinese translates as “to break the chain” and involves officials attempting to terminate the personal and financial links between foreign casino operators and their mainland clients. Casino gambling, as well as the promotion of such activities, is largely prohibited in China with the former Portuguese enclave of Macau the only place where nationals are legally permitted to place wagers. The organizing of foreign gambling trips is additionally unlawful although firms often get around this rule by incorporating sight-seeing excursions.
China’s anti-casino strategy has reportedly been led by President Xi Jinping as officials perceive the activity as being linked to corruption, money laundering and domestic instability particularly as many of the gamblers that have gone broke have been small business owners.
The 17 current and two former employees of Crown Resorts Limited were subsequently convicted at Shanghai’s Baoshan District People’s Court on June 26 under articles 25 and 303 of Chinese criminal law, which relate to the organizing of gambling parties and relying on such activities as a main source of income. While 16 of those arrested were sentenced to time served and ordered to pay fines totaling just over $1.26 million, which the Melbourne-based casino giant later explained it would be covering, the harshest punishment was reserved for Jason O’Connor, the firm’s VIP International Executive General Manager, who was sentenced to ten months in jail with the penalty set to reflect time already served.
Reuters reported that one unidentified family member of a released defendant stated that “everything went okay” and that relatives were now eager to see “what the company does next” in regards to “how it treats those involved”.