Smuggler suspect Lai to be returned
Updated: 2006-05-19 13:46 Lai Changxing, a fugitive whom Chinese authorities
accuse of being a criminal kingpin and now in Canada, may be deported to China
next Friday, officials said Thursday, according to China News Service.
arrested by Canadian Border Services Agency officers on Tuesday after a final
review concluded he would not be in danger if deported to China to face charges
that include smuggling and bribery.
China's most wanted fugitive, Lai
Changxing, pictured in 2001. [AFP]
But an Immigration and Refugee Board member has revoked the detention,
rejecting arguments by the agency that Lai has untapped financial resources he
will use to flee before being sent back to China next Friday.
Board member Leeann King says that during more than six years of legal
proceedings to stay in Canada, Lai has largely complied with restrictions that
have allowed him to remain free in Vancouver. His lawyers are also headed back
to Federal Court next week to challenge a pre-removal assessment, which gauges
the risks he might face after returned to China.
China accuses Lai of heading a syndicate based in the southeastern port of
Xiamen that smuggled as much as US$10 billion worth of goods ranging from
cigarettes to cooking oil under the protection of corrupt government officials.
Lai, his wife Tsang Mingna and their three children arrived in Canada in
August 1999 after fleeing mainland via Hong Kong.