Four of China's 'most wanted' for corruption believed to be hiding in Auckland

Ji Dongsheng is wanted by China and thought to be living in Australia.
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Ji Dongsheng is wanted by China and thought to be living in Australia.

Four of the people most wanted by China for corruption are reportedly living in Auckland.

China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has posted the addresses of 22 corruption suspects who have fled overseas, 10 of who are living in the United States, four in New Zealand, and five in Canada and one in Australia.

The publication of their photographs and details of identity and travel documents, along with the call for tip-offs from the Chinese expatriates, appears to be an attempt at publicly shaming them into a return to China.

The discipline commission, which has courted controversy for its secret interrogations of thousands of suspects, said the information was based on tip-offs from Chinese citizens abroad. It encouraged more informants to come forward.

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"We expect overseas Chinese and international friends see clearly the true face of those corrupted, stop then from staining Chinese and local community, give them nowhere to hide, and return a piece of pure land to locals," the CCDI website said.

THE FOUR ON THE LIST

Jiang Lei, said to be living in the suburb of Cockle Bay, is number two on China's most wanted list, according to the Chinese New Zealand Herald.

He reportedly fled to NZ 10 years ago and is suspected by China of embezzlement.

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Number five on the list is Chen Xingming, who the Chinese government suspects of misappropriating funds. The government believes he may be living in Half Moon Bay.

Xuan Xiuying is 10th on the list. She's also suspected of misappropriating funds and the Chinese government believes she may be living in the suburb of Eastern Beach.

Number 15 on the list is Yu Tai years, who fled to this country in 2007, and is accused of corruption. The Chinese government believes he lives near Auckland's One Tree Hill.

New Zealand has in the past resisted extradition to China because of its use of the death penalty.

When asked about the latest developments English told AAP: "New Zealand is not proceeding with new extradition treaties right now, while we review relevant legislation. But we could look at a possible treaty in future."

AUSTRALIA'S CASE

In Australia, a leafy street in Sydney's Burwood has been listed by China's feared corruption investigators as the possible residence of one of its 'most wanted' international fugitives.

Ji Dongsheng, a former manager at Henan Securities in Zhengzhou, has been on China's list of 100 most wanted officials for two years, and is believed to be living in Australia.

Ji is said to be living in Ethel Street, Burwood. The street, a typical inner west mixture of large Victorian terrace houses and red brick apartments, has now become a focus of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Operation Skynet.

However an extradition treaty between Australia and China stalled after the Turnbull government was unable to get support for legislation from Labor, who held human rights concerns.

The US, Canada and New Zealand similarly do not have extradition agreements with China.

Chinese analysts said at the time the extradition bill stalled that the Chinese government would resort to "other options" to attempt to persuade the fugitives to return to a China to face trial.

Chinese media on Thursday reported that Ji had been a manager of Henan Securities in Zhengzhou who was alleged to have misappropriated client funds.

He allegedly instructed IT staff to allow clients guarantee funds to be used for share trading, which resulted in severe losses. He fled to Australia in 2002.

All of the 22 named are also the subject of Interpol red notices.

"We urge specific countries not to pursue their own economic interests by issuing passports and visas through investment immigration schemes when applicants are suspected of corruption," said the commission.

The commission website claimed that by the end of March, Operation Sky Net had repatriated 2873 fugitives from 90 countries, including 40 who had been subject to an Interpol red notice.

When the top 100 list was published in 2015 it included 10 people believed to be in Australia. Three returned to China last year after pressure on their families.

CRACKDOWN A HALLMARK

China's corruption crackdown has become a hallmark of President Xi Jinping's control of the Communist Party.

In 2016, 47,650 corrupt officials were investigated, including 21 at a ministerial level, according to state media. 

In recent weeks, the focus of the corruption crackdown has turned to the finance industry.

Human rights groups have raised concerns that the corruption crackdown is also being used to settle political scores, and there is insufficient transparency in China's court system to guarantee fair trials.

- Stuff and Sydney Morning Herald

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