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Chinese economic crime suspects repatriated after 10-yr flight

By : | Published: 2014-August-14

[InKunming--China]  Two suspects in a major economic crime recently gave themselves up and returned to China from Cambodia after being at large for ten years, the Ministry of Public Security said on Wednesday.

The chase dates back to July 2004 when police in north China's Shanxi Province found 30-plus suspects, including the two, surnamed Zhu and Kong, lured 35 groups to deposit their funds in designated banks with the promise of high interests, then conspired with bank staff to transfer the money into their own pockets, the ministry said in a statement.

Their crimes, from January 2002 to July 2004, involved 13 branches of five banks and amounted to 73 cases, leading to "huge economic losses".

According to the police, Zhu and Kong fled the country after they took part in a 150 million yuan (24.4 million U.S. dollars) swindle in July 2003.

In December 2004, Interpol issued a red notice for the two. Over the past ten years, Chinese police had cooperated with counterparts from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and the regions of Hong Kong and Macao and seized six suspects,.

"Under huge pressure from police authorities, Zhu made contact and said the two were willing to negotiate with police in Cambodia to give themselves up," it said.

Zhu and Kong returned to China in July and are now in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi.

Figures from the ministry show that 18 suspects in major economic crimes who fled the country have been arrested and returned since a special operation kicked off on July 22 to hunt down corrupt officials and criminal suspects hiding overseas.

The operation, dubbed Fox Hunt 2014, is intended to block the last route of retreat for corrupt officials at a time when China's major crackdown on graft has already narrowed the space for abuse of power.

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