China / Society

Guangdong promises to bring back officials hiding abroad

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2015-04-17 21:14

The southern province of Guangdong has vowed to go all out to repatriate the corrupt officials hiding abroad, according to a statement released by the province's top anti-graft body.

A special task force has been set up to focus on hunting the corrupt officials who have fled abroad, the statement said.

The force will also coordinate and co-operate with relevant departments in the province and with the central government in tracking the escaped officials, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the provincial government is also determined to crack down on the province's underground banks, overseas companies that help corrupt officials transfer embezzled money abroad and illegal money laundering, the statement said.

The statement was published after the sixth meeting of the anti-corruption and co-ordination working group of Guangdong provincial Party committee was held in the Guangdong provincial capital on Wednesday.

The meeting, which aims to enhance international co-operation in tracking down Guangdong's corrupt officials hiding abroad, was held after the central government intensified efforts to hunt down corrupt officials who have fled abroad by launching a major campaign, which aims to bring back a number of suspects this year by coordinating with top authorities, said China's top anti-corruption body.

The campaign, code-named Tianwang, or "Sky Net launched, earlier this month aims to arrest a number of corrupt officials and persuade some who have fled to turn themselves in, according to statement from the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

As part of the campaign, authorities will confiscate the identification documents that officials applied for by violating regulations. Those who provide assistance in the process will also be punished.

Zhang Jingen, a professor with Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University, said, as a neighbor of Hong Kong and Macao, Guangdong has many channels for corrupt officials to flee abroad after taking bribes.

Guangdong which has a large number of overseas Chinese living abroad has many sino-foreign exchange activities, said the anti-corruption expert.

"Relevant departments should expand management on the Party and government officials who frequently go abroad for study and working tours," Zhang told China Daily on Thursday.

Relevant departments should further expand co-operation with their foreign counterparts in hunting and sending back the corrupt officials hiding abroad, he said.

"Meanwhile, prosecuting authorities should enhance intelligence exchanges with financial regulators and banking systems to discover clues of suspects transferring illegal funds in a timely manner, and effectively improve their prevention and control capabilities," he added.

Guangdong, which is estimated to have 1,240 corrupt Guangdong officials and business executives who have escaped overseas tops provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in the number of economic crime suspects brought back from abroad in the past years.

Last year alone, at least 42 economic suspects who had escaped abroad were brought back home to face trials.

Yu Zhendong, former head of the Kaiping city branch of the Bank of China, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2006. Yu was brought back to China in 2004 after fleeing to the United States for three years after corruption and embezzlement allegations.

Ren Yu contributed to this story.

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