Court hears last appeal for fugitive Lai
By Zhang Liuhao (Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-31 05:53 China's most famous fugitive - Lai Changxing -
could be returned to the country soon if a North American court turns down his
final appeal today to avoid extradition.
A Canadian federal court will hear Lai's
application to overturn a final risk assessment on his extradition by
immigration authorities in that country.
Lai Changxing in
Vancouver, Canada, in 2001. Chinese fugitive Changxing's deportation to
China was postponed, after Canada's Federal Court scheduled a hearing on
May 31 in his last-ditch effort to remain in Canada.
The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board concluded recently that Lai, who
is wanted on bribery and smuggling charges, would not be executed if he is
deported to China.
Lai, 53, is accused of heading a syndicate, based in coastal Xiamen in
southeast China's Fujian Province, that colluded with corrupt government
officials to operate the biggest smuggling operation uncovered in China since
The case involved US$10 billion worth of goods ranging from cigarettes to
Lai fled to Canada with his wife, Tsang Mingna, and their three children in
August 1999. For years he has been trying to gain refugee status, but all his
attempts have been turned down.
Lai was put under house arrest in Vancouver in June 2002.
Xinhua news agency reported that Lai is preparing for deportation. His wife
filed for divorce last May and petitioned to obtain Lai's property and a
The divorce was approved the following month. Tsang was granted ownership of
the apartment where the family lived, which has an estimated value of about
The hearing on the child-care allowance was suspended. Lai's three children
are all adults, aged 20, 22 and 24.
China has urged Canada to extradite Lai as soon as possible, a Foreign
Ministry spokesman said earlier.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, 320 suspects in economic crimes
involving 70 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) have been repatriated to China in the
past two years.
China has signed extradition treaties with more than 30 nations, the ministry
said. But China and Canada haven't concluded an extradition