BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 08:10 GMT
'Smuggling kingpin' loses freedom case
Corruption is endemic in China
By Ian Gunn in Vancouver

One of Asia's most sought-after fugitives is to remain in prison after being arrested in Canada.

Lai Chang Xing, who is wanted in China for his part in the smuggling of billions of dollars worth of contraband goods and the bribing of officials, was arrested with his wife by Canadian authorities late last week.

He has applied for asylum and had asked to be released until the case was heard.

But an immigration officer in Vancouver agreed with Canadian government lawyers who argued there was a risk the pair might flee the country.

Co-operating

The immigration adjudicator did not take long to make up his mind.

After a full day of hearing arguments from both sides, he agreed Mr Lai should remain in custody, calling the allegations against him substantial and serious.

Mr Lai's lawyer argued that his client entered Canada legally in 1999, made a formal application for asylum several months ago and had been co-operating with Canadian officials in that process.

He also said that, despite claims to the contrary, both the Chinese and Canadian governments have known of Mr Lai's whereabouts for some time.

He said Chinese agents even met with his client in a Vancouver hotel earlier this year in an effort to persuade him to return to China.

Death sentences

Canadian immigration officials argued that Mr Lai entered Canada fraudulently and has been associating with known criminals since arriving.

The Chinese government has accused Mr Lai of running a vast smuggling operation that mushroomed into the biggest corruption scandal in the country's history.

A total of 14 senior government officials and associates of Mr Lai have been sentenced to death for their roles in the case.

China has not yet officially told Canada whether it will seek Mr Lai's extradition.

But if it does, this case could be complicated by Canada's traditional reluctance to return people to countries where they are likely to face the death penalty.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

27 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
China wants extradition talks
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Corruption: End of China's Party?
09 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese corruption partner gets life
21 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Three Gorges corruption scandal
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories