Chinese police have nabbed at least 312 economic fugitives from 57 countries and regions, including the United States, Canada, and Japan, and have confiscated some of their illegal assets since a crackdown in July on suspects fleeing overseas, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Among the fugitives netted in the six-month “Fox Hunt 2014” campaign, 146 were persuaded to return to confess their crimes. The police also brought back more than 80 economic fugitives from the US, Canada, Australia and Belgium to stand trial, ministry figures showed.
“Several suspects of financial crimes have been transferred to the prosecuting departments to face trial,” Shi Lifang, a senior official from the ministry’s economic crimes investigation bureau, told China Daily.
The courts will also decide how the assets seized in the cases should be handled after the suspects are dealt with, she said.
“Usually, in some cases, if the judicial organs are able to find the victims, they will return the funds involved to them,” said a senior official from the Ministry of Justice who declined to reveal his name.
“If we are unable to trace the victims of some cases such as those involving corruption, bribery or embezzlement, we will meet the relevant judicial organs in some foreign countries to decide how the confiscated assets may be shared and distributed,” he said.
To that effect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that China and Canada will officially sign an agreement with a view to sharing the seized funds that corrupt Chinese officials illegally sent to Canada.
In October, the Australian Federal Police said China and Australia are working together to hunt down the fugitives and will take joint steps to confiscate illicitly acquired assets when appropriate.
“The AFP cooperates with Chinese authorities in assisting to trace and restrain illicit assets in Australia on behalf of Chinese authorities,” a senior official from the AFP told Xinhua News Agency.
In early November, the French government decided to assist the Chinese judiciary by confiscating illegal assets that had been transferred to France by corrupt officials. The seized assets will be divided with China, according to the French Ministry of Justice.
“We will share with China’s judicial organs the seized funds for each individual case in a proper manner,” said Robert Gelli, director of the Criminal Affairs Department of the French Ministry of Justice.