Triad leader Lu Chuanbo returned to China after arrest in South Korea

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 September, 2013, 7:28pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 9:38am

South Korean police arrested one of China’s most wanted criminals earlier this month in Seoul and returned him to China, Interpol said on Monday.

Lu Chuanbo, 44, was one of the leaders of a major organised crime syndicate involved in blackmail, extortion, drug smuggling, money laundering and running casinos illegally in the coastal city of Qingdao, said Interpol.

From 2000 until he fled to Seoul in May 2011, Lu was second-in-command in a violent gang, reported China’s Legal Daily, a state-owned newspaper associated with the Ministry of Justice.

By June 2010, the gang had been involved in the murders of at least two people and wounding of at least 26 others in Qingdao. Later that month, Chinese police secured an arrest warrant for Lu but he fled the country, the paper said. Lu’s boss Nie Lei was sentenced to death in August last year, and executed last week. 

Lu entered South Korea on a tourist visa in May 2011 and lived in luxury apartments in Gangnam district in Seoul and Songdo district near Incheon, said the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in a statement. Chinese citizens who could speak Korean helped Lu get apartments, mobile phones and a car using a false name, it explained.

South Korean authorities started investigating Lu’s whereabouts after China’s Ministry of Public Security asked Interpol to issue a red notice, an international request to seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition, two years ago.

One of Lu’s gang members, identified only by his last name, Ding, who entered Korea legally as a real estate investor last year to bring Lu money, was arrested and deported in August this year.

Lu came to the attention of Korean police when he surfaced at a foreigners-only hotel casino in Seoul in May, said Legal Daily.

Korean police used telecom records of people associated with Lu to track him to a wealthy neighbourhood in Seoul, said the city’s police. Police arrested Lu at his apartment in Seoul on September 11 after questioning a 25-year-old Chinese woman for 10 days who was believed to be living with him.

Five days later, Lu was handed over to Chinese authorities and returned to Qingdao, said Legal Daily.