Runaway China official suspected of graft repatriated from Singapore

Runaway China official suspected of graft repatriated from Singapore

SHANGHAI - A former Chinese official accused of corruption who fled overseas returned home on Saturday after being forcefully repatriated from Singapore, state media reported.

Li Huabo, a former financial official in the central province of Jiangxi who is suspected of embezzling 94 million yuan (S$20 million), fled China in 2011, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The Communist Party's corruption watchdog showed a photo on its website of Li being marched down the stairs of an airplane with a police officer holding each arm.

Li was sentenced to 15 months in prison by a Singapore court on another charge, served the jail term and then was repatriated after his release, Xinhua said. It did not say when or if he would face trial in China.

He was brought home under a new government initiative to track down top fugitives suspected of corruption who have fled overseas, called "Sky Net" in Chinese.

Li is shown second on a list of 100 wanted people issued in April as part of the campaign, with a photo of him sporting a moustache and a red polo shirt.

The new set of photos posted Saturday on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection showed him appearing older, wearing eyeglasses and handcuffs.

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a high-profile campaign against corruption accompanied by a government austerity campaign after he came to power more than two years ago.

But critics say the Communist Party has resisted introducing systemic reforms seen as key measures against graft, such as publishing officials' assets, relaxing controls on media and establishing an independent judiciary.

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