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US hands over another fugitive to authorities

By Zhang Yan in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-18 13:00

A Chinese fugitive suspected of fraud on the order of 380 million yuan ($57 million) has been repatriated to China from the United States to face justice, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Thursday.

A United Airlines flight carrying the suspect, surnamed Zhou, and US law enforcement officers arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport on Wednesday, where the officers handed him over to Chinese police, the ministry said in a news release.

The repatriation was considered "the latest achievement of judicial cooperation between the two countries to hunt down fugitives", the release said.

Between October 2013 and April 2014, Zhou was listed as a representative of a chemical company in Hubei province. When the company ceased production, he fabricated documents, including false mortgage information, to get loans valued at 354 million yuan from four financial institutions, the police said.

Zhou then directed others to use the money to purchase houses and pay off obligations, the release said.

In November 2013, while Zhou was the listed representative of another company in Guangdong province, he fraudulently obtained 31 million yuan by selling equity in the company to other people, even though it had already been mortgaged to the bank, according to the police.

When he was exposed, Zhou fled to the US in May 2014. That month, he was charged with fraud by prosecutors in Yingcheng, Hubei province.

In July 2014, prosecutors in Dongguan, Guangdong, issued an arrest warrant for Zhou.

Interpol twice issued a red notice marking him as a most-wanted fugitive in July and September 2014.

After his escape, Chinese police immediately requested judicial assistance from their US counterparts to investigate the case, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

It was believed to be the second successful repatriation of a Chinese fugitive from the US after President Xi Jinping met President Donald Trump in April. As the two countries still lack an extradition treaty, such cooperation is conducted case-by-case. In June, the US sent back a Chinese fugitive for alleged rape.

"The second repatriation this year from the US shows that the two countries are expanding judicial cooperation to include not only violent crime suspects but also economic crime suspects," said Huang Feng, an international criminal law professor at Beijing Normal University.

The public security ministry said China would like to further enhance judicial cooperation, including intelligence sharing and case investigation, with the US to nab more Chinese fugitives and confiscate their illicit assets.

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