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Worldwide manhunt nets 50th fugitive

By ZHANG YAN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-06 07:32

Suspect accused of contract fraud; global campaign reaches midpoint

A global campaign to catch China's most-wanted fugitives saw the return of its 50th corruption suspect, the top anti-graft watchdog said on Tuesday.

The milestone was achieved with the detention of Zhou Jiyang, 47, who has been on the run in Hong Kong for nine years, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. He was among 100 Chinese fugitives for whom Interpol issued red notices-international arrest warrants-in April 2015.

Zhou is accused of committing contract fraud while working for the Party history research department of the Zhejiang provincial committee of the Communist Party of China. The CCDI said he fled to Hong Kong after being placed under investigation in 2008.

He was detained by Zhejiang police on Friday and his ill-gotten assets will be confiscated according to the law. The case is still under investigation, the CCDI said in a statement on Tuesday.

Since April 2015, half of the 100 corrupt fugitives have been brought back from more than 16 countries and regions to stand trial, which fully reflects "China's firm determination and resolute confidence to pursue the fugitives to the end", the CCDI said.

In recent years, a number of Chinese corrupt officials and directors from State-owned companies have fled to the Hong Kong or Macao special administrative regions or overseas destinations to take advantage of the difference in laws or complicated repatriation procedures.

Moreover, they have sent millions of yuan in illegal assets to foreign accounts through money laundering or underground banks.

To tackle this, in 2014, the Central Anti-corruption Coordination Group, led by the CCDI, launched the Skynet program to capture economic fugitives abroad and confiscate their illicit assets.

By the end of August, more than 2,600 fugitives suspected of economic crimes had returned to China from over 90 countries and regions to face charges, including the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Illicit assets totaling 9.36 billion yuan ($1.42 billion) had been recovered.

"We will continue our actions and leave no 'safe heaven' for the fugitives," the CCDI said in a statement. "No matter where they are hiding, we will make every effort to bring them back to face justice."

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