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Canada denies sanctuary for Lai Changxing
Updated: 2005-04-15 14:57

A Canadian federal court has denied sanctuary for one of China’s most-wanted man, smuggling ringleader Lai Changxing, but its ruling appeared to leave open the possibility for further appeals.

Lai Changxing [file]
Lai is the mastermind behind a network based in Xiamen, responsible for smuggling as much as $10 billion worth of goods into the country, the biggest smuggling case since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Lai, his wife Tsang Mingna, and their three children arrived in Canada in August 1999 after fleeing Chinese mainland by way of Hong Kong. Lai and his family have been applying for refugee status in Canada.

It is reported that China’s President Hu Jintao had sent then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien a diplomatic note with assurances the alleged smuggling kingpin would not be executed, after being sent back to China.

Canada law forbids capital punishment.

In a decision released in June 2002, Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board found Lai and Tsang were "not credible and that there were serious reasons for considering Lai had committed crimes of smuggling and bribery."

On Thursday the three-judge federal panel denied Lai's appeal bid, ruling that the refugee board had acted correctly three years ago.

But the judges left open the case for further appeals, saying the court would allow a pre-removal risk assessment.

Lai's Canadian lawyer, David Matas, said that Lai will take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada within 60 days.

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