Police hunt fugitive officials who fled with cash

Police hunt fugitive officials who fled with cash

Police are launching an operation to track down corrupt officials and others who have fled abroad with illegally obtained financial assets, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Tuesday.

The effort will continue until December, said Liu Jinguo, the vice-minister of the ministry.

"The pursuit is closely related to social fairness," he said. "Some corrupt officials are at large abroad and have taken lots of illegal assets, and we will boost our efforts to nail them down."

Ministry figures show that at least 500 such fugitives, including corrupt officials, were living overseas last year. Most are hiding in the United States, Canada and some European and Southeast Asian countries.

"We will take effective measures to bring them back," said Liu. "No matter where they are and who they are, we will capture them."

He said the ministry will set up special teams and collect evidence, conduct case-by-case studies and draw up arrest plans.

There will be improved cooperation with law-enforcement bodies in other countries, including intelligence-sharing, investigations, recovery of funds and joint operations.

Efforts will be made to persuade fugitives to return home to confess their crimes, and members of the public will be rewarded for providing evidence, said Liu.

There will be a greater emphasis on prevention, and loopholes will be identified.

"As soon as we discover a fugitive is at large we will immediately notify Interpol and take effective action to capture them," he added.

Liao Jinrong, director of the ministry's International Cooperation Bureau, said police in China face practical difficulties when trying to bring back economic fugitives.

There are no bilateral extradition treaties with countries such as the US and Canada, and some countries have lengthy and complex legal processes.

Huang Feng, a law professor at Beijing Normal University, said: "The key is to take effective measures to prevent economic fugitives escaping and transferring their illegally obtained assets abroad.

"In addition there should be enhanced cooperation with the financial sector and banking system to tighten supervision and prevent suspects from transferring money overseas through money laundering operations and underground banks."

zhangyan1@chinadaily.com.cn

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