China posts details of 22 graft suspects living overseas

BEIJING • The Chinese authorities have released information on 22 corruption suspects who have fled overseas, including their possible current whereabouts.

The information includes the name, gender, identification card number, former title, suspected crime, date of arrival in the current country and travel document number of each suspect, according to a statement from an office in charge of fugitive repatriation and asset recovery under the Central Anti-corruption Coordination Group.

The whereabouts are as specific as the streets where the fugitives are believed to live. Of the 22, 10 are thought to be in the United States, five in Canada, four in New Zealand and one each in Australia, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Britain.

They are aged from 33 to 75. The first to flee left in 1998, said a report posted on the website of the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

This is the first time China's anti-graft authorities have issued a notice giving such specific information about overseas fugitives, said Mr Gao Bo, a CCDI official.

"All 22 suspects are on the '100 most-wanted' Interpol red notice. Issuing the notice means their last hope to escape will be lost," he said.

Compared with other fugitives on the Interpol red notice, capturing these 22 is more difficult, said Mr Liu Jianchao, deputy director of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention. "Some cases are at a crucial stage for breaking them, and we need to put more pressure on the suspects," he said.

As of March 31, 365 suspects in duty-related crimes, such as embezzlement and bribery, were known to be at large overseas and a further 581 were unaccounted for, the statement said. The information released was based on tips from members of the public and cooperation with other authorities.

Yesterday, a court jailed a former chairman of Baoshan Iron and Steel, who went on to become vice-mayor of Shanghai, for 17 years over bribery and graft. Ai Baojun had used his position to amass more than 40 million yuan (S$8 million) in assets from 2000 to 2014, a court in the southern city of Zhangzhou ruled.

Ai is the most senior official from China's financial hub to be sentenced in the corruption campaign. The court also ruled that 5.8 million yuan of Ai's personal assets be confiscated and returned to Baoshan and Shanghai city, China Central Television said. Ai was given a lenient sentence as he had actively provided details of his crimes, the court said.

XINHUA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'China posts details of 22 graft suspects living overseas'. Print Edition | Subscribe