China names four corruption suspects in Auckland

Article – BusinessDesk

China names four corruption suspects in Auckland, English not considering extradition treaty

By Rebecca Howard

April 28 (BusinessDesk) – Four of 22 corruption suspects who have fled China are in Auckland according to a list published by Chinese authoritiesand while New Zealand is not currently proceeding with new extradition treaties it could look at a possible treaty in the future, a spokesman for Prime Minister Bill English says.

The information includes the name, gender, ID card number, former title, suspected crime, date of arrival in the current country and travel document of each suspect, according to the state-owned Xinhua news agency.

Of the 22, 10 are thought to be in the US, five in Canada, four in New Zealand, and one each in Australia, St Kitts and Nevis and the UK.

Xinhua quoted Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection official Gao Bo as saying it is the first time China’s authorities have issued a notice with such specific information about overseas fugitives.

China has sought the help of Western countries such as New Zealand in its campaign – dubbed “operation foxhunt” – to round up corruption suspects who fled overseas.

In a transcript of a March press conference published on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Chinese authorities have brought back over 2,500 fugitives from more than 90 countries and regions on charges of corruption and economic crime, and 38 of them are on the list of 100 most wanted fugitives and has reached extradition treaties and mutual judicial assistance treaties with 70 countries.

“The Foreign Ministry will continue to do its best to shatter the illusion of fugitives and make them understand that there is no safe haven abroad and they cannot escape justice wherever they may be,” Wang Yi said.

New Zealand has resisted an extradition treaty with China because of its use of the death penalty. In response to a question about whether talks currently underway to upgrade the free trade agreement between the two nations will include a possible extradition treaty, a spokesman for English told BusinessDesk: “New Zealand is not proceeding with new extradition treaties right now, while we review relevant legislation. But we could look at a possible treaty in future.”

According to the spokesman, during Premier Li Keqiang’s recent visit to New Zealand, he and English agreed that they would continue to discuss the issue.

The spokesman also noted that New Zealand’s current legislation does not require a bilateral treaty in order to consider extradition requests from China or other countries.

“Bilateral cooperation on extradition will continue in individual cases under the current legislation where the required conditions are met,” he said.


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