China has launched an operation to hunt down corrupt officials and suspects in economic crimes who have fled the country.
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.
Corrupt Chinese officials have been fleeing overseas since the late 1980s.
Although the number of fugitives and the sums they took with them has never been publicized, experts believe the trend has already caused a large amount of money to flow out of China, especially as most of it is acquired by illegal means such as taking bribes or embezzling public funds.
“They have caused a great economic loss to our country, and wasted our taxpayers’ money,” said Liu Dong, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security’s (MPS) Economic Crime Investigation Department.
Wherever they try to escape and hide, “we will hunt them down and bring them to justice,” Liu vowed.
PROGRESS ALREADY MADE
Meanwhile, he said progress has been made in easing the difficulties that exist with varied political and legal systems between countries.
Since 2008, more than 730 suspects in major economic criminal cases have been seized and brought back to China from 54 nations and regions.
In 2013, 762 people suspected of criminality in taking advantage of their positions of power were brought back to China from abroad, with 10.14 billion yuan confiscated, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
The MPS called on police authorities to continue to strengthen cooperation with police forces in other countries and regions, issue announcements with procuratorates and courts to urge suspects to give themselves up, and encourage tip-offs from the public by offering rewards.
Multinational corruption is a developing legal trend. China has been a member of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) since 1984, and will continue to enhance work with other countries to crack down on cross-border money laundry and multinational corruption, according to MPS officials.
“China has signed extradition cooperation agreement with more and more countries in recent years, which gives solid guarantees for the new campaign,” said Wang Yukai, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance.
The campaign will last until the end of this year.