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China exposes whereabouts of corruption fugitives, urging surrender

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

04-27-2017 21:40 BJT

BEIJING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities Thursday released information on 22 corruption suspects who have fled overseas, including their possible current whereabouts.

The information includes the name, gender, ID card number, former title, suspected crime, date of arrival in the current country and travel document number of each suspect, according to a statement from an office in charge of fugitive repatriation and asset recovery under the central anti-corruption coordination group.

The whereabouts are as specific as the streets where the fugitives are believed to live.

Of the 22, 10 are thought to be in the United States, five in Canada, four in New Zealand, and one each in Australia, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the United Kingdom.

This is the first time China's anti-graft authorities have issued a notice giving such specific information about overseas fugitives, said Gao Bo, an official with the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. "All 22 suspects are on the '100 most-wanted' Interpol red notice."

As of March 31, 365 suspects of duty crimes such as embezzlement and bribery were known to be at large overseas and another 581 were unaccounted for, according to the office.

Some of the fugitives have changed their identities since the Interpol red notice was released. Some are having difficulties deciding whether to give themselves in, while others continue to evade authorities, said a statement of the office.

The information released was based on tip-offs from members of the public and cooperation with other authorities, said the statement. When receiving further tip-offs, the watchdog guarantees to protect informers' rights and interests. Further information on more fugitives will be released at an appropriate time, the statement continued.

"We hope overseas Chinese, foreign citizens of Chinese origin and international friends will help identify these fugitives... and give them no place to hide," said the statement.

The statement said the public can report relevant information to Chinese authorities via the website http://www.12388.gov.cn/ztzz/.

Countries involved should abide by international conventions and cooperate in law enforcement. They should support China's anti-corruption drive by not sheltering fugitives nor allowing them to transfer illegally attained assets, the statement said.

"China respects the laws of other countries and is ready to cooperate with them. We urge specific countries not to pursue their own economic interests by issuing passports and visas through investment immigration schemes when applicants are suspected of corruption," it said. "Passports and visas that have already been issued should be revoked as soon as possible."

The statement also offered leniency for fugitives who voluntarily return to China to surrender and confess to their crimes.

By reaching out to international society, the notice clearly demonstrates China's refusal to tolerate corruption and shows willingness to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and judiciaries overseas.

By releasing specific information, authorities expect increased support from media, police and from local residents who may be unaware of the suspects' backgrounds, said Wang Wenhua, deputy dean of the law school at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Pursuing corrupt officials from high-ranking "tigers" to low-level "flies" within China and through operations such as "Sky Net" and "Fox Hunt" overseas, in the last five years, the campaign has drawn the net ever tighter and there is now almost no chance of escape, according to the statement.

As of March 31, China had captured 2,873 fugitives from more than 90 countries and regions and recovered 8.99 billion yuan (130 million U.S. dollars), of which 476 were former officials and about 40 were on the Interpol red notice list.

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