wo Australian Crown Resorts employees released from a Shanghai jail had received especially generous treatment in being allowed to remain in China, say court officials and lawyers.
Jane Pan Dan and Jerry Xuan were along 10 Crown employees freed on Wednesday after being jailed last month for gambling crimes. Another of the 16 employees sentenced to terms of between nine and 10 months was due to be released yesterday. Jail terms were backdated to their arrest last October.
A third Australian — Crown’s head of international VIP gambling, Jason O’Connor, of Melbourne — will be released next month.
China does not accept dual nationality.
However chief judge Zhang Kai, who oversaw the hearing of the case of 19 Crown employees, chose not to issue Ms Pan and Mr Xuan with deportation orders, as she did Mr O’Connor and Malaysian Alfread Gomez, who are both serving one further month.
It was made clear during the case — at which all the Crown employees pleaded guilty of promoting gambling — that Ms Pan and Mr Xuan are Australian citizens.
A Shanghai lawyer, who did not wish to be named, said that “in 99 per cent of cases where a foreign citizen is found guilty of a crime, they are ordered to be deported, usually immediately after their sentence”.
Neither Ms Pan, who was based in Shanghai, nor Mr Xuan, who was based in Beijing, have chosen to speak publicly since being released. It’s believed this is in part because of the unusual clemency shown by the court, since their families are still in China.
The Shanghai lawyer said: “If they communicate thoroughly with the Chinese government if and when required, it appears that they may be allowed to continue to work and live in China, which is their native country after all.”
Further, she said, they may not be required to give up their Australian citizenship in order to remain. This is also provided for under the 1999 Agreement on Consular Relations Between Australia and the People’s Republic of China.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “Two Australians were released on July 12 at the conclusion of their sentence. Due to our privacy obligations, we will not provide further comment on the individuals.”
There appears to be no ongoing consular role.
By ROWAN CALLICK