CRIME

Businessman caught in Colombia is China's first economic fugitive extradited from Latin America

Suspect, 35, from Zhejiiang province, allegedly fled China leaving debts totalling more than four million yuan (about HK$5 million), China News Service reports.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2014, 4:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2014, 4:32pm

A businessman from Zhejiang province, who was arrested in Colombia over allegations he fled the mainland after leaving debts totalling millions of yuan, was repatriated to China yesterday.

The case is the first time the mainland has extradited an economic fugitive from a Latin American country, China News Service reported.

The 35-year-old suspect, whose surname was given as Wu, was arrested in Colombia on August 28, it said.

He owned a trading company in Yiwu city and reportedly fled China on a flight from Shanghai's Pudong International Airport on September 9, 2012.

He had allegedly left unpaid debts totalling more than four million yuan (more than HK$5 million).

Zhejiang police launched an investigation into Wu about a month later, and order for his arrest was issued in December 2012.

After cooperating with Interpol, Zhejiang police discovered in July that Wu was in Colombia, said Ding Pinglian, of the Zhejiang provincial police bureau.

Four police officers were then sent to Colombia to assist with Wu’s arrest and extradition.

Wu is expected to stand trial in Yiwu, China News Service reported.

A total of 11 people suspected of economic crime have been repatriated since the Ministry of Public Security launched a campaign to return fugitives in July, the report said.

The ministry said last month that more than 150 mainlanders suspected of economic crimes were in the United States, which had become the “top destination” for Chinese fugitives.

However, a lack of any extradition treaty between the two countries made it difficult for Chinese authorities to return the fugitives, China Daily newspaper reported.