Renewed Fox Hunt chases fugitives
Updated: April 8, 2022 09:08 China Daily

The Ministry of Public Security recently launched this year's Fox Hunt, an annual operation targeting suspected financial fugitives, and pledged to step up anti-money laundering efforts.

The special operation is a significant element of the Sky Net campaign, which seeks to repatriate corrupt officials who have fled abroad.

The Sky Net 2022 campaign was launched in early March led by the office in charge of fugitive repatriation and assets recovery under the central anti-corruption coordination group. Last year, 1,273 fugitives were returned to China and over 16.7 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) of illicit funds was recovered.

Public security organs have been working to find, locate and repatriate suspects and have expanded means for asset recoveries.

The police are assisting discipline inspection and supervision departments in pursuing fugitives and in recovering stolen assets, the ministry said.

In addition, public security organs are cooperating with the People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, to continue preventing the transfer of stolen money abroad via various shady routes including offshore companies and underground banks, and to strengthen efforts in fighting money laundering, it said.

The ministry said that the police arrested many economic fugitives and recovered about 1.4 billion yuan in stolen funds during Fox Hunt 2021.

In one case resolved last year, a suspect surnamed Jiang in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, illegally solicited some 137 million yuan from 15 people under the guise of operating factories and real estate investments in 2011.

Jiang fled overseas in October 2011, and police in Wenzhou filed the case for investigation in May 2012.

In October 2014, the local procuratorate approved the arrest of Jiang on suspicion of illegally absorbing public deposits. One month later, Interpol issued a red notice that Jiang was wanted internationally.

After Jiang fled, the public security organs actively tried to persuade him to return. In June 2021, Jiang returned to China and surrendered to the investigation unit. His case is still under investigation.

The public security organs have always remained determined in hunting fugitives and recovering stolen assets, and have made all-out efforts to serve anti-corruption work, and earnestly safeguarded national interests and security, said an official with the ministry.

Zhuang Deshui, deputy head of the Clean Government Research Center at Peking University, said that under the Sky Net campaign, the path for corrupt fugitives to flee is becoming narrower. More and more fugitives are being brought to justice, and the deterrent effect of international anti-corruption cooperations to pursue fugitives and recover their stolen assets is becoming more and more evident.

"Hunting fugitives overseas is an extension of fighting corruption at home, and they are the two areas in the fight against corruption. The two are intertwined and influence each other," said Zhuang.

The practice has proved that domestic anti-graft work has created a favorable environment and condition for overseas "fox hunting", which is conducive to the expansion of the pursuit of fugitives and their ill-gotten gains, he said.

"Vigorously carrying out an overseas 'fox hunt' can cut off the retreat of corrupt elements, forming a strong deterrent to those who have already fled abroad and those who are preparing to do so, helping to maximize the effect of the fight against corruption," he said.

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