Tobacco fugitive finally extradited

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 1997, 12:00am

Former tobacco executive Jerry Lui Kin-hong will return to Hong Kong today after his extradition over smuggling allegations was sealed by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Lui, 41, was escorted on to a plane in Boston by Independent Commission Against Corruption assistant director of operations Tony Godfrey at 10 pm last night.

He is expected in Hong Kong this afternoon to facing charges of accepting bribes of $33 million in connection with an $8 billion cigarette smuggling syndicate.

He will be taken directly to ICAC operations offices for questioning.

The US Marshals Service in Washington last night confirmed the extradition was underway but declined to give further details.

'For security reasons, we can't discuss the case further,' a spokesman said.

Lui's case hit the headlines in January when a Boston District Court judge blocked the extradition, ruling that he could not be guaranteed a fair trial after the handover.

His lawyer, Harvey Silverglate, had argued Lui could even face execution in China if he were forced to return to the territory.

The Hong Kong and US governments immediately appealed, fearing that a victory for Lui would place the US-Hong Kong extradition programme in limbo.

However, as expected, Ms Albright rejected his submission and signed the order to return him to Hong Kong.

Lui was arrested at Boston's airport by ICAC officers and agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in December 1995.