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Most-wanted fugitive stands trial

By ZHANG YI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-29 07:05

Most-wanted fugitive stands trial

Yang Xiuzhu, former deputy director of Zhejiang province's construction department, stands trial on graft charges at the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court in Zhejiang on Friday. CHINA DAILY

China's most-wanted graft fugitive, Yang Xiuzhu, who had been on the run for 13 years, stood trial on Friday at a court in Zhejiang province.

Yang, 70, a former deputy director of the construction department of Zhejiang province, was accused of having embezzled more than 19 million yuan ($2.8 million) of public funds and taken bribes of around 7.35 million yuan.

The Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court in the province held an open trial and issued a statement saying Yang confessed to committing the crimes.

Yang was also head of the provincial office of urbanization before she fled China in April 2003. She had also been vice-mayor of Wenzhou, Zhejiang, from 1995 to 1998.

According to prosecutors, Yang misused her positions from 1996 to 1997 as the vice-mayor of Wenzhou and the chairman of the board at a railway real estate company in the city to commit embezzlement. She was also accused of abusing her power from 1994 to 1998 as the assistant to the mayor of Wenzhou and vice-mayor of the city, taking bribes from land developers as well as promoting others.

The verdict will be announced at another date.

Yang topped the list of 100 Chinese fugitives suspected of economic crimes and was subject to an Interpol red notice.

She fled to the United States when evidence of corrupt conduct was uncovered after her brother Yang Guangrong was arrested by the procuratorate in Zhejiang in March 2003 on charges of accepting bribes from local real estate developers.

Yang had been hiding in several places, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Singapore, France, the Netherlands and Italy.

She had applied for asylum in France and the Netherlands, but was rejected before fleeing to the United States to seek asylum in May 2014.

Yang returned to China in November 2016 and turned herself in to authorities.

Around 50 people from all sectors of society, including media, deputies to the National People's Congress and political advisers for Hangzhou Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference were present at the trial.

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