China detains staff from Australia’s Crown for ‘gambling crimes’

The Crown Casino complex is pictured in MelbourneSYDNEY/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd said on Monday China had detained 18 of its employees including three Australians, sending gaming stocks tumbling on concerns about their strategy for luring Chinese gamblers. The Sydney-listed company, 53 percent-owned by billionaire James Packer, said it had not made contact with its employees, including Australia-based head of international VIP gambling Jason O'Connor, and was not aware why they had been detained. Australia consular officials in Shanghai were making arrangements to visit the Australians to offer assistance, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, without specifying when the meetings would take place.