Guangdong to make every effort to confiscate and return illicit assets
Anti-graft officers in Guangdong province will attach great importance to confiscating and returning fugitives' illicit assets from abroad, according to the Guangdong Provincial Commission of Supervision.
"We will work to make sure that fugitives can't conceal their illegal funds or send them to their foreign accounts," said Chen Bo, the commission's deputy director.
"We will never allow corrupt fugitives to enjoy their ill-gotten funds in foreign countries."
According to the commission, in recent years, many corrupt officials initially sent their illicit funds to Hong Kong through underground banks, before transferring the money abroad and fleeing.
Figures provided by the commission show that from early 2015 to June this year, anti-graft officers in the province confiscated 1.02 billion yuan (nearly $148 million) at today's rates) in illicit assets from overseas.
Chen said the officers will make every effort to track down fugitives abroad, force them to return home to plead guilty and ask for lenient punishment, and actively return their illegal funds.
He said the officers will work closely with judicial authorities to promptly start procedures to confiscate suspects' illegal funds at home.
Moreover, if a fugitive is still at large and cannot attend a hearing in China, courts will decide what to do with any illicit assets once a judge has ruled that the money was obtained illegally.
This ruling will then be submitted to foreign courts to request assistance in freezing, confiscating and returning the money, Chen said.
In September, He Quanchang, the former director of the land bureau in Zhongshan city, Guangdong, returned home to plead guilty after spending three years on the run in Canada, according to the provincial supervisory commission.
Accused of corruption and bribery, he fled to Canada in 2015, before moving to a number of other countries to avoid detection.
The commission said he came home to confess his crimes and return 596 million yuan in dirty money for a lenient punishment. He has yet to be sentenced.
Li Xi, Guangdong Party chief, said, "It's essential to deepen judicial cooperation with relevant countries and set up a system to prevent economic fugitives fleeing."
Li Zhanzhao, an officer with the Guangdong Provincial Commission of Supervision, said it will strengthen routine supervision of public officials, directors of financial institutes and officials in key positions to prevent them fleeing overseas.
He said supervisors will require public officials to report their personal matters, and enhance supervision of so-called naked officials - those who are in China while their family members live overseas - while strengthening the management of their passports and tightening border controls to prevent them fleeing abroad.
From early 2015 to June, anti-graft officers in Guangdong extradited, repatriated and persuaded 959 fugitives suspected of economic crimes to return home, including 349 officials, according to the Guangdong Provincial Commission of Supervision.