Asia Chinese economic fugitive repatriated from Singapore

Chinese economic fugitive repatriated from Singapore


Chinese police escort Li Huabo (centre) upon his arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday
Chinese police escort Li Huabo (centre) upon his arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday

(AA) — A former Chinese official accused of embezzling more than $15 million has been extradited from Singapore, becoming the second suspect on China’s Interpol list of most wanted economic fugitives to be repatriated. 

The Shanghai Daily reported Sunday that Li Huabo, a former financial official in eastern Jiangxi province, was repatriated Saturday and has had his assets frozen.

It cited a statement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection as saying that Li has been residing in Singapore since he fled China in Jan. 2011.

According to state news agency Xinhua, the People’s Procuratorate of Jiangxi’s Shangrao city said Li was arrested for corruption.

Li, accused of embezzling 94 million yuan (more than $15.1 million) from the local government’s infrastructure fund between 2006-2010 and fleeing to Singapore with 29.5 million yuan, was caught under the government’s Sky Net campaign for the repatriation of corruption suspects.

In August, he was tried in absentia in a landmark case aimed at recovering smuggled illegal earnings overseas, according to the China Daily.

It reported that Singapore police had found that Li and his wife had assets totaling 5.45 million Singapore dollars ($26.8 million).

A Singapore court had handed him a 15-month prison term for “dishonestly accepting stolen property,” according to Xinhua, returning him to China after he served most of the sentence.

There is no extradition agreement between China and Singapore but both countries conducted cooperative law enforcement operations.

Last month, China’s Interpol bureau released the names of 100 nationals wanted worldwide under Sky Net, which combines the efforts of the country’s government, Communist Party, central bank and diplomatic services.

The first fugitive — Dai Xuemin, a former manager of a state-owned trust and investment company in Shanghai — was caught on April 25 in eastern Anhui province following his entry into China on a foreign passport.

Since its launch in 2013, President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has investigated tens of thousands of suspects, including dozens of high-profile individuals at the top of the Communist Party.

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