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How the elite ‘fox hunt’ police taskforce scours the world for fugitives who have fled overseasMainland media reveal details of how a clutch of suspects, including allegedly corrupt officials and businessmen, fled before being brought to justice.Angela Meng20 October 2014Mainland media has revealed details of President Xi Jinping’s “fox hunt” for criminal fugitives abroad which was launched several months ago.The Beijing News reported on Monday about the escape and subsequent capture of a clutch of suspects, including allegedly corrupt officials and businessmen.Wang Guang, a police officer from Hebei in the fox hunt taskforce, told the Beijing News about an operation to capture fugitives who had flown to Thailand. A couple both aged 50, and their 27-year-old daughter, were accused of illegally stealing up to 860 million yuan of public funds and committing contract fraud involving more than 10 million yuan. In March, the three fled to Macau with millions of yuan in cash but lost it all gambling. The family later fled to Thailand.Wang arrived in Thailand at the end of August and tracked down the family, who were living in a rented apartment with large amounts of cash, jewellery and dozens of designer bags. The couple admitted to Wang they had chosen to hide in Chiang Mai as police might have trouble finding them because so many Chinese lived in the area.The Beijing News report also highlighted the difficult conditions under which mainland officers have to work to capture suspects who have fled overseas since 2006. One policeman was tasked to go in late August to Nigeria, a West African country near the centre of the Ebola epidemic, to make an arrest.“If I said I wasn’t worried, I would be lying” Qian Song, the officer, was quoted saying.Qian arrived in Nigeria to find that the fugitive, Li Qing, was living in an upmarket apartment with tight security. Even if a police officer visits on official duty, the building security is obligated to notify the tenant. Qian devised a plan, in cooperation with Nigerian police, to lure Li into the complex’s courtyard, where three plainclothes police captured him.According to the report, 40 per cent of fugitives return to China after they are contacted by the task force.As a part of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, late last month the mainland’s top legal supervisory body, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, separately announced the start of a six month campaign to target suspects of corruption who have fled overseas.According to a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in 2011 more than 1,500 fugitives left the country with nearly 8 billion yuan.China has extradition treaties with 38 countries, excluding the United States, Canada, and Australia, all of which are popular destinations for economic fugitives, according to mainland media.
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