The last five Crown Resorts employees, including the head of Crown Resorts’ international VIP operations Jason O’Connor, were released from prison on Saturday after serving 10 months for promoting gambling.
O’Connor was one of 19 staff detained by Chinese authorities last October, with Malaysian national Alfred Gomez and three Chinese nationals also set free over the weekend after being sentenced in June. The other 11 people charged were released last month.
Crown Resorts Executive Chairman John Alexander said the company was “very pleased that our employees are being reunited with their families,” following Mr O’Connor’s released.
“Crown is deeply appreciative of the support provided by our legal counsel over the last few months and thanks the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Government for their professionalism and assistance,” he said.
Mr O’Connor was immediately escorted to the airport by Public Security Bureau officials and deported.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, any foreigner sentence to be deported “shall be escorted by prison officers, guarding armed police and foreign affairs police … and may be handcuffed if necessary.
“Personnel executing a deportation shall monitor the means of transportation for the foreigner being deported and shall not leave the premises until s/he has boarded and departed.”
The release of the remaining five Crown Resorts employees brings to an end a calamitous chapter for the Australian operator, which saw VIP revenue fall by 48.9% for the year ended 30 June 2017 after Crown was forced to put its Chinese ambitions on hold in the wake of the arrests.
The group’s flagship property, Crown Melbourne, last week reported a 49.7% decline in VIP revenue to AU$340.3 million while Crown Perth saw VIP revenue fall 46.1% to AU$109.3 million.