Beijing releases list of 100 graft fugitives

They include six people who allegedly escaped to Singapore

INTENSIFYING its overseas hunt for corrupt officials, China has taken the unprecedented step of releasing a list of 100 fugitives, their personal details and the countries they might be hiding in, including six who allegedly escaped to Singapore.

Chinese anti-graft investigators said they hoped that releasing details of the fugitives, who have been issued with "red notice" arrest warrants by Interpol, could help step up international anti-graft cooperation.

"We're doing this also to show our resolve in going after corrupt fugitives and to send a message that we will bring them back to face the law no matter where they are," said Mr Fu Kui, who heads the Communist Party anti-graft commission's international cooperation department.

Speaking to state broadcaster CCTV yesterday, he said the list is just a fraction of the total number of Chinese fugitives and that the authorities will release more later and on a regular basis.

Around 90 per cent of the list released by Interpol's China office were officials, while the rest were suspects involved in major graft cases.

Their photos, and identification and passport numbers were among details revealed.

The countries identified as destinations for the 100 suspects include the United States, which attracted 40 of them, as well as Britain, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and Italy.

Among the six said to have escaped to Singapore is Li Huabo, a Jiangxi official who fled in 2011. The Singapore permanent resident was sentenced in the Republic in 2013 to 15 months' jail for receiving US$182,723 (S$246,800) in his Singapore bank account, said to have been stolen from the Chinese government.

Beijing said he siphoned off $19 million in total over five years when he was a finance bureau officer in Poyang county in Jiangxi province.

The others are Liu Changming, party boss of Bank of Communications Guangzhou branch; Shi Yang, Liaoning propaganda official; Huang Shuimu, chairman of a property firm in Fujian's Longyan city; Han Jianpeng, legal representative of an investment firm in Hebei province; and Liang Jinwen, who worked in an auto firm in Guangdong's Zhuhai city.

As part of an anti-graft campaign waged by President Xi Jinping since taking power in late 2012, China has also trained its sights on corrupt officials who escaped abroad over the decades.

Some 680 fugitives were nabbed in the Fox Hunt operation from July to December last year led by the Ministry of Public Security, which has launched another hunt this month codenamed Sky Net.

This month, China said it secured commitment from the United States in investigating and prosecuting graft cases.

Analysts said China's overseas hunt is aimed at preventing those still on the mainland from thinking of escape routes.

"It wants officials to focus on serving the people and to stop fantasising about being corrupt," said Shenzhen University observer Ma Jingren.

kianbeng@sph.com.sg