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88 nailed in China’s intl manhunt for fugitive economic crime suspects

Updated: Sep 22,2014 1:13 PM     Xinhua

Chinese police have seized 88 suspects in an international manhunt since July which targets corrupt officials and suspects in economic crimes that have fled the county, the Ministry of Public Security said on Sept 20.

Eleven of the suspects have been at large for more than 10 years, the ministry said. They include a suspect surnamed Wang who had been on the run for 14 years in Canada, after taking advantage of his previous job to embezzle more than 60 million yuan ($10 million).

Another suspect surnamed Wang, believe to have swindled some 100 million yuan through contract defraud, was caught by police from central China’s Anhui province in cooperation with their Thai counterparts, the ministry said.

It added that 35 of the 88 suspects were “persuaded” to come back to China from the US, Canada and Belgium, and turn themselves in.

China launched the Fox Hunt 2014 operation in July 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.

Earlier reports said the campaign will last until the end of this year.