‘Red Notice’ graft suspect returns to China

By Jiang Jie, Li Ning -Mareeg.com-Another graft suspect on China’s 100 “most-wanted” list living in the US turned himself in to authorities on Thursday, the latest case in the countries efforts to capture officials on the run overseas on corruption charges.

Wang Jiazhe, a former employee of newspaper Liaoning Daily, became the first person to return after the “Sky Net” campaign was launched in 2017.

An economic fraud suspect surnamed Zhang was extradited to China after ten years on the run in Italy in February 2015. (Photo by People’s Daily)

Wang was number 40 on China’s 100 “most-wanted” fugitives abroad, his return a victory for all agencies involved, including the Fugitive Repatriation and Asset Recovery Office of the Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Group, a disciplinary watchdog established in 2014.

The suspects are listed in a “red notice” by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) that serves as an international arrest and extradition warrant for fugitives by country.

In April 2015 China released a “red notice” to apprehend 100 “most-wanted” suspects accused of economic crimes who have fled overseas.

A “Sky Net” campaign aiming to return the suspects to justice was launched in the same year. The 2017 campaign was started on Tuesday, following the success of the past two years.

Since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013, China has remained determined in its fight against corruption. The international manhunt for fugitive officials and recovery of stolen assets is key to strengthening party self-discipline and cracking down on corruption.

In 2016, a total of 1,032 fugitives-including 134 former civil servants, 19 of whom were on the “red notice” list-were extradited or repatriated from over 70 countries and regions, along with recovered assets worth 2.4 billion yuan ($348 million).

The “Sky Net” campaign in 2017 will follow the campaigns of the previous two years. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) will be charged with the extradition of suspects and recovery of assets.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) will kick off operation “Fox Hunt” to capture suspects abroad, while the People’s Bank of China will cooperate with the MPS in cracking down on money transfers through offshore companies and underground banks.

The three departments will also launch a special campaign to confiscate ill-gotten funds from suspects based on the newly-released provisions.

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com