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China intensifies effort to hunt corrupt officials overseas
Publication Date : 26-07-2014
The Supreme People's Procuratorate is setting up a special task force to hunt for corrupt officials who have fled overseas and to confiscate their illegal gains, Xu Jinhui, director of the SPP's anti-corruption and bribery department, said on Friday.
Prosecuting departments have captured 320 fugitives between January and June, and they will step up the hunt for those still at large, Xu said.
"We will cooperate with such countries as the United States and Canada on intelligence sharing, case investigation and fugitive extradition in order to try to recover the ill-gotten gains," he said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors also will start the process of confiscating funds that the officials have transferred abroad.
"Once the evidence is solid, we will initiate the confiscation procedure to cut off the fugitives' economic support," he said.
Xu said the top prosecuting department will update its database for fugitives who are still on the run, and increase its oversight on major cases.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, by last year at least 500 economic fugitives, most of whom were corrupt officials, were at large in places like the US, Canada, Australia, and some European and Southeast Asian countries.
Liao Jinrong, director of the ministry's International Cooperation Bureau, said in an earlier interview that police officers face hardships in bringing fugitives back to China due to its lack of bilateral extradition treaties with countries such as the US and Canada.
The top prosecuting department has signed 113 bilateral cooperation agreements with judicial organs in 98 countries and regions, and is pushing forward on international conferences in order to exchange concerns about the pursuit of fugitives and recovery of assets, said SPP spokeswoman Xiao Wei.
She said that border areas, including Yunnan and Heilongjiang provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, have been working closely with their counterparts in adjacent countries to improve their capabilities in cross-border arrests, evidence collection and recovery of funds.
For example, the Heilongjiang provincial prosecuting department has improved its mechanism for hunting fugitives in the border area between China and Russia, and the Yunnan provincial prosecuting authority has held regular meetings with judicial bodies in Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam to expand channels for criminal judicial cooperation, Xiao said.
Huang Feng, a law professor at Beijing Normal University, said that "the key to preventing corrupt officials' transferring their assets is to establish a mechanism for regularly publicising their property and pushing forward the introduction of an anti-money laundering law".
Meanwhile, he said, financial sectors and banking systems should enhance supervision of any suspicious flows of capital to prevent the fugitives from transferring illegal assets abroad through money laundering or underground banks.