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China recovers dozens of fugitives

(Global Times)    08:40, January 20, 2015

Beijing, Washington discussing the turnover of evidence

A total of 49 fugitives suspected of corruption and other duty-related offenses were returned to China from overseas since a six-month campaign started in October, State prosecutors announced on Monday.

The suspects either surrendered or were arrested from 17 countries and regions, such as the US and the UK, Xu Jinhui, anti-bribery chief of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), told a press conference.

The SPP launched the campaign to apprehend people suspected of these crimes who have fled to other countries with their assets. The campaign is scheduled to end in March.

Of the 49 suspects, three had been on the run for more than a decade including one for 23 years, Xu said.

Authorities have been persuading the suspects' relatives or friends to cooperate to help the government track down the suspects and cut their financial ties. Thirty-six suspects surrendered after being persuaded by their close relationships.

A bribery suspect, surnamed Zhang, was convinced by her husband. Zhang, the former head of the Jilin Provincial Office of State Administration of Taxation, had been under investigation for bribery, and returned 35 million yuan ($5.6 million) that had been transferred to the US.

Authorities have also worked closely with Chinese communities in regions where many suspects tend to hide, such as spreading notices to urge suspects to surrender.

"Most fugitives choose to live in Chinese communities, and they often have contact with each other," Xu said.

Some 16 cases involved more than 1 million yuan and four involved more than 10 million yuan. "The amount of money brought abroad by suspects has dropped as the operation intensifies," Xu said.

Aside from measures targeting suspects, improved cooperation between China and other countries has also benefited the campaign, the SPP noted.

Authorities will boost international cooperation in hunting fugitives in order to block the route of corruption, according to a communiqué released after the fifth plenary session of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China.

Although the US and Canada were two popular destinations for economic fugitives to flee to, including corrupt officials, China has not signed an extradition pact with either of them.

Judicial authorities from China and the US on Thursday discussed ways to cooperate with a focus on laws and a turnover of evidence, in an effort to arrest Chinese fugitives in the US, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The Ministry of Public Securityis conducting a manhunt called "Fox Hunt" targeting economic fugitives, including alleged corrupt officials since July 2014. A deadline of December 1, 2014 was set up to urge suspects to surrender.

"Although the deadline has passed, suspects who choose to surrender before the end of our campaign in March will still be dealt with as stated in the notice [with leniency]," Xu said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wang Ao,Liang Jun)

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