Former Crown Resorts Employee Speaks Out About 2017 China Imprisonment, Claims She Refused Hush Money
Posted on: July 28, 2019, 04:29h.
Last updated on: July 28, 2019, 04:34h.
An ex-employee of Crown Resorts who was among those arrested and later imprisoned in China in 2017 for illegally marketing gambling to Chinese citizens has broken her silence on her ordeal and the events that led up to it.
Jenny Jiang was among 19 of the Australian casino giant’s employees and former employees who were detained in a series of raids across China in October 2016.
Most were released after 10 months, but the incident severely embarrassed Crown.
It forced the company to abandon a VIP marketing program in China that was generating billions in revenues for the company’s Australian casinos.
At the same time, Crown initiated significant corporate restructure and completely deserted its ambitions for international expansion.
In 2016, Jiang and her colleagues’ efforts to attract wealthy Chinese whales to Crown properties generated $15 billion for the James Packer-controlled company – and that was just from two cities, Shanghai and Wuhan.
Haunted by Incarceration
Speaking to Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes, Jiang described the illegal setup as a Wolf of Wall Street-style operation, with huge bonuses and vacations to Las Vegas on offer for China-based staff who could lure high rollers to the Crown’s VIP baccarat tables.
But Jiang said she will always be haunted by the ten months she spent incarcerated among “drug dealers, pickpockets and prostitutes,” in a state of perpetual fear, isolated from the outside world and not knowing how long her confinement would last.
That’s a really horrible memory. The saddest thing is you couldn’t reach out to your family. You couldn’t hear your relatives’ voice and you don’t know how much they worry about you.”
Trailers for Saturday’s 60 Minutes program had been airing on the Nine Network all week, promising an unspecified exposé that would be “a story so important it can’t be missed,” which was “set to rock the foundations of Australia.”
In the aftermath of the show, many Australians hit social media to suggest the trailers had been breathtaking in their hyperbole. But while the revelations contained in the broadcast ultimately failed to “rock” Australia, they will heap further embarrassment on Crown Resorts.
Much of the show focused on the company’s business links with allegedly triad-linked Macau-based junket operations.
But the Asian-facing casino sector’s relationship with the junkets is no secret. And while the junket industry was certainly once controlled by the triads, it’s unclear how much influence they have in Macau’s more strictly regulated market today.
60 Minutes revealed that a triad conglomerate, which it referred to as “The Company,” had its fingers in junket operations. According to one former police officer, the group is also responsible for up to 70 percent of all drugs trafficked into Australia over the past 20 years.
A massive criminal enterprise like The Company needs a massive money laundering operation to clean its drug money — and one such operative was Hong Kong-based junket operator Roy Moo.
Moo was an authorised representative of the Ang Junket Group. The Ang Group helped bring Asian visitors to the Crown Casino Melbourne and Moo conducted financial transactions using a Crown Patrons Identity.
In mid-2013, he was convicted of laundering hundreds of millions of The Company’s drug money through the Crown.
By his own admission, the money was given to Moo because of his “contacts at Crown Casino, mutual trust,” and because “it was easier than using a bank.”
Crown Defends Itself
Jiang told 60 Minutes that several months after Moo’s conviction, Crown ramped up pressure on the China-based marketeers to find VIPs.
This may have been a reaction to the Moo case, which was widely reported in Australian media at the time — a decision by Crown Resorts top brass to do its Chinese marketing “in house” rather than relying on the junkets.
It may also have been a calculated strategy to mop up Chinese whales at a time when Beijing’s “anti-corruption” drive was scaring them away from Macau.
A Crown spokesperson told The Age that the company does not “comment on its business operations with particular individuals or businesses,” adding that it has a comprehensive anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing program in place, which is subject to regulatory supervision.
It also “refutes any suggestion that it knowingly exposed its staff to the risk of detention in China.”
Jiang, who is the first of the 19 to speak publicly of her ordeal, claims otherwise.
She says that on her release she was offered $60,000 by Crown for her silence but declined the hush money. She told 60 Minutes she has withdrawn from friends and sometimes feels overcome by shame because of her imprisonment, and constantly apologizes to her husband for bringing the stigma on the family.
“Because you married me, you get a criminal wife. I felt really shamed about that,” she said.
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