Tue, Nov 22, 12:03pm by Staff Writer
Chinese authorities have formally charged three Australians detained as part of the arrests of 18 Crown Resorts staff in China in October.
The issuing of formal arrest and charge details for the three Australians means that they face the prospect of at least another six months behind bars in Shanghai before they move to trial.
Australians Jason O’Connor, Jerry Xuan and Pan Dan were among those detained in a nationwide police operation across several Chinese cities. Under Chinese law, arrests must be formalised within 37 days of detention.
They were initially detained on ‘gambling crimes’ which is believed to be related to marketing of Crown’s Australian casinos to Chinese nationals.
Relatives of the 14 Chinese nationals detained as part of the raids confirmed that charges had now been issued. Only one of the original 18 detained has been released on bail.
“The notice just says they have been arrested under ‘gambling crimes’, that’s it,” said one family member.
Marketing of gambling to Chinese nationals is forbidden, but many international casino destinations have looked to attract Chinese gambling ‘whales’ by marketing their casinos as resort and holiday destinations.
However, Chinese authorities have kept a close eye on these marketing activities and last year arrested several South Korean casino employees.
U Io Hung, who runs the CCUE VIP Club junket operation out of Macau, told Fairfax Media that Crown had flown too close to the wind when it came to their marketing activities.
“They went over themselves to look for clients… they just wanted revenue. They’ve made a big mistake,” Mr U said. “They come over with their business cards they say ‘I’m Crown, I’ll use a private jet to send you over there’, it’s too obvious.”
“We perform our business in the grey zone of the Chinese law, we will visit some potential clients [but] not directly tell them our actual job.”
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