Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign

Don’t let Hong Kong become haven for corrupt, mainland graft-buster urges

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 December, 2016, 11:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 December, 2016, 11:48pm

Hong Kong and the mainland should team up in the fight against fugitive officials and stop the city becoming a refuge for fleeing cadres, according to a senior mainland anti-corruption official.

Hong Kong-based pro-establishment magazine Bauhinia quoted Liu Jianchao, head of the Central Commission for Discipline ­Inspection’s international cooperation department, as saying Beijing was determined to crack down on corruption.

Liu vowed to stop Hong Kong from becoming a “haven for the corrupt and their illegal income”, but said repatriation operations faced big challenges.

“Some of the mainland’s corrupt officials exploit the differences in the ... systems between the mainland and Hong Kong to flee. They try to hide in Hong Kong or use Hong Kong as a springboard to a third country,” he said.

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The former diplomat said the authorities on the mainland and in Hong Kong should step up ­cooperation on sharing evidence, countering money laundering, tracing illicit assets, and joint law enforcement actions.

Liu said that between January and November, 908 fugitives had been repatriated to the mainland as part of “Sky Net”, one of the country’s overseas operations against graft. Among those sent back were 122 former government employees who fled with a total of 2.3 billion yuan (HK$2.6 billion).

Since 2014, 2,442 suspects, ­including 397 government ­officials, had been returned in cases that involved a collective 8.5 billion yuan in ill-gotten gains.

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“We’ll never stop chasing the fugitives no matter how far they go or how long they have fled,” Liu said.

In another article in the magazine, Simon Peh Yun-lu, head of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, wrote that the city had been working with mainland authorities on graft-related crimes.

Mainland procuratorate officials made 26 trips to Hong Kong in 2015, questioning 18 witnesses, Peh wrote. ICAC officers also made 21 trips to the mainland, questioning 35 witnesses.

Peh said Hong Kong implemented anti-corruption regulations to a high standard, pointing to the city’s fourth placing in a ­corruption risk assessment survey of 199 countries and regions.