Shares in Australia's Crown Resorts plunged on Monday after the Australian gaming company confirmed that 18 employees had been detained in China.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Crown said Jason O'Connor, its executive vice president for VIP international, was one of the workers detained. It was not clear from the statement or media reports whether the staff were in mainland China or in the Chinese gaming hub Macau.
"To date, Crown has not been able to speak with its employees and is working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to urgently make contact with and ascertain the welfare of its employees," the statement said, adding that the casino owner had not been given details on why its workers had been detained.
Crown stock was down just over 12 percent in early afternoon trade at A$11.38 on the news. Rival Star Entertainment traded down 4.45 percent at A$5.45 per share, while in Hong Kong, casino companies Wynn Macau, Sands China and Melco International also lost ground.
According to Australia's national broadcaster ABC, the detained staff work in sales and marketing, and O'Connor runs the team responsible for attracting high-rollers to Crown's Australian casinos.