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Employees of Australian Crown Resorts arrested in China for 'gambling crimes'

Eighteen employees of Australian casino company Crown Resorts, including vice president Jason O’Connor, are believed to have been arrested in China, the company has said.19 Oct 2016

Crown has not been able to speak to its employees and has not been told why they have been detained, it said.

Gambling is illegal in China, and the Chinese authorities told Crown Resorts to stop advertising its casinos to mainland Chinese last year, sources told Bloomberg. The company shifted its advertising to focus on resorts rather then the casinos themselves, but the authorities did not recognise that as a material change, Bloomberg said.

China's foreign ministry told Reuters that it had detained some Australian nationals for suspected "gambling crimes" and was still investigating the matter. The employees are thought include three Australians, according to Reuters.

Crown is working with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to make contact with and ascertain the welfare of its employees, and will "provide support to the families of its employees in China and Australia", the company said.