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Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Smuggling suspect faces deportation
An immigration board in Canada has begun hearing evidence into whether a man accused of heading a massive smuggling ring in China should be given refugee status.

The man, Lai Changxing, says that if he is sent back to China he will not be given a fair trial.

He is accused of heading an operation in which billions of dollars worth of luxury goods were smuggled into China through the eastern port of Xiamen.

Fourteen people convicted of involvement in the operation have been executed.

The Canadian government has said Mr Lai is abusing the refugee system, although there is no formal extradition treaty between China and Canada.

Mr Lai and his family fled to Vancouver two years ago. The immigration hearings are expected to last over a month.

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