Vice President of VIP Operations Jason O’Connor and 18 other Crown Resorts staff were handed jail terms by Shanghai’s Baoshan District Court on Monday, but all will be free within two months after pleading guilty to promoting gambling.
O’Connor was one of five employees handed a 10-month sentence by the court, but with time served will be free in two months, while another 11 – including fellow Australians Jerry Xuan and Jane Pan Dan – will be free inside a month after being sentenced to nine months in prison.
Graeme Meeham, Australia’s consul general for Shanghai, confirmed to media immediately after the decision that the sentences started from the original date on which the trio were detained, 14 October 2016.
In a press release issued shortly after the conviction, Crown Resorts said it would pay a total of RMB8.62 million (AU$1.67 million) in fines ex gratia for 16 of the 19 defendants, of which Mr O’Connor’s fine totaled RMB2 million, Ms Pan Dan RMB400,000 and Mr Xuan RMB200,000. The remaining three defendants were neither fined nor sentenced.
Crown said it had been informed that the group had been convicted of contraventions of Article 303, Clause 1 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, stating that “anyone who organizes gambling parties or is engaged in gambling as one’s main business for the purpose of making profits shall be sentenced to not more than three years of fixed-term imprisonment, detention or surveillance and shall be jointly fined.”
They were also convicted under Article 25, Clause 1 whereby “a joint crime is an intentional crime committed by two or more persons jointly.”
In its statement, the company said, “Crown remains respectful of the sovereign jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China and does not intend to comment further at this time.”