BEIJING – Chinese authorities has arrested 18 employees of Australian company Crown Resorts including three top executives and three citizens of Australia, Reuters reported. Arrests took place late night Sunday and Monday early morning.
A spokesperson for Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Fairfax Media that the Chinese authorities “have three days in which to notify of the detention of Australians according to the terms of a bilateral consular treaty”.
None of the detainees have been able to access lawyers or spoken to their family. They are being held as part of criminal investigation by authorities into “gambling crimes”, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry.
Most senior among those detained was visiting executive Jason O’Connor, who heads up a program designed to lure “high-roller” gamblers to Crown Casino in Melbourne, as Fairfax Media reported.
Crown Resorts offers services in the area of gaming and hospitality.
The reason for the arrests is unknown.
Crown Resorts controls 27 percent of shares of Melco Crown Entertainment in Hong Kong listed on NASDAQ.
Company operates casino/hotel properties in Macau which include City of Dreams and Altira Macau as well as the Mocha Clubs business.
According to the company website in Australia, Crown “wholly owns and operates two of Australia’s leading integrated resorts, Crown Melbourne Entertainment Complex and Crown Perth Entertainment Complex.
Overseas, Crown also fully owns and operates Crown Aspinall’s in London.
(Reuters, Fairfax Media, pht)