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Police liaisons help in criminal cases abroad

By Cui Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-29 08:39

The 63 liaison officers from Chinese police forces sent to the nation's embassies and consulates in 31 countries have played a key role in handling an increasing number of cases abroad involving Chinese people, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The officers have worked with local police, assisting in 5,000 transnational cases and helping repatriate 1,349 fugitives over the past five years. They have significantly boosted international law enforcement cooperation in fighting crime and hunting fugitives. More importantly, their presence has helped better protect the interests of Chinese people who live or travel abroad, the ministry said.

"Little do people know that many Chinese fugitives listed on Interpol's red notices turned themselves in because of the work of police liaison officers," said Yu Yang, an officer with the ministry's department of police liaison officers. Yu spoke with China Daily this week on the sidelines of the ongoing 86th Interpol General Assembly in Beijing.

Red notices issued by Interpol are requests to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending repatriation. The Interpol General Assembly opened on Tuesday, with participants of the four-day annual meeting discussing ways to increase cooperation on returning fugitives who are the subject of a red notice.

Police liaison officers were first dispatched to the Chinese embassy in the United States in 1998. The number of officers in the country has increased to three because of the growing need for coordination, Yu said. The officers meet with US law enforcement officers regularly to discuss issues regarding Chinese fugitives.

Zhang Kan, who speaks fluent Spanish, became a police liaison officer in the Chinese embassy in Argentina in 2015. "The police liaison officers are both police officers and diplomats," Zhang, 33, said. Like most of the liaisons, his term is four years.

With more Chinese people traveling and living aboard, emergencies involving them in foreign countries have increased significantly. By closely working with local police and having a better understanding of the different countries' legal systems, the liaisons can help ensure such cases are handled more effectively and the rights of Chinese people are protected, Zhang said.

With Zhang's assistance, Argentine police in June 2016 busted a criminal gang with Chinese members that hired others to carry out assassinations.

"Although we have no right to become involved in the actual missions, we can help Argentine police translate evidence in Chinese into Spanish and provide valuable suggestions as a fellow police officer," Zhang said.

On Jan 7, 2015, a family member of an overseas Chinese businessman surnamed Yu called Zhu Ronghui, a police liaison officer at the Chinese embassy in Russia, and told him that Yu had been kidnapped. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of 15 million yuan ($2.26 million).

Zhu immediately contacted local police investigators he knew and asked them to make their best efforts to rescue Yu.

He closely followed Russian police progress while telling police in China to track down the kidnappers' accomplices in Fujian province. On Jan 13 of that year, Russian police located Yu and launched a rescue mission. As soon as the four kidnappers in Russia were caught, Zhu contacted Fujian police and told them it was safe to arrest the two suspects in China.

"I hope Chinese people in foreign countries will feel safer and better protected knowing we are there," Zhang said.

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