Under “Operation Fox Hunt”, Chinese authorities are said to have nabbed in the past four months at least 335 economic criminals that had been hiding overseas with ill-gotten gains.
According to an Apple Daily report Wednesday, 154 of the overseas fugitives turned themselves in ahead of the operation’s December 1 deadline in order to receive mitigated punishment.
The Ministry of Public Security initiated the so-called Fox Hunt on July 22 to catch those suspected of economic crimes and corruption and who fled abroad to avoid punishment. The list includes many government officials.
According to the ministry, more than 20 of the arrested people had spent more than a decade on the run, with the longest up to 16 years.
The fugitives hid in 57 countries around the world, including the United States, Spain, Japan and Belgium.
According to data compiled by some mainland netizens, the US was the top choice of corrupt officials fleeing overseas. It is estimated that more than 7,000 suspects fled to the US with ill-gotten gains of as much as 336 billion yuan (US$54.63 billion).
In terms of both the number of fugitives and the amount involved, Guangdong province tops the score.
An internal report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences showed that about 18,000 corrupt officials had fled overseas or disappeared since the mid-1990s, along with 800 billion yuan (US$130 billion).
The Communist party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in 2010 put the number at about 4,000 people, involving more than US$50 billion.
Beijing has been trying to establish a database on overseas fugitives and will post names on the discipline commission’s website in the future, according to the Apple Daily report.
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