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Two Aussies Among Crown Staff Released From Chinese Jail

DFAT confirm the release

Two Aussies Among Crown Staff Released From Chinese Jail

Image: Pexels

Australian citizens "Jane" Pan Dan and Jerry Xuan have been released from a Chinese jail, where they were held alongside Crown Resorts co-workers for gambling crimes.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson today confirmed two Australians had completed their nine-month sentences, but would not elaborate on further details, AAP reports.

"Two Australians were released on 12 July at the conclusion of their sentence," a DFAT spokesperson said.

"Due to our privacy obligations, we will not provide further comment on the individuals."

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

According to Reuters, 10 of the 16 employees jailed in June were released from two Shanghai detention facilities on Wednesday, with a third released on Thursday.

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 Head of International VIP gambling, Australia's Jason O'Connor, was sentenced to 10 months in jail and fined RMB2 million, or $390,000 AUD.

Mr Xuan and Ms Pan, both Australian-Chinese dual nationals, received nine month prison terms and were respectively fined $78,000 AUD and $39,000 AUD.

The marketing of casinos and organising overseas gambling trips for 10 or more people are illegal on mainland China, with Chinese authorities cracking down on gambling as part of the fight against corruption.

Crown Resorts, 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.

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